I startled feeling something on my neck to only meet his grey eyes staring at me. I tried to get up and he didn’t stop me. I wonder why he was in my room again.
I left the bed slowly. I could notice his eyes on me but he made no attempt to help me. It was not like I was expecting him to. In fact, it will be better if he doesn’t show me his face at all. I didn’t want to get a nervous breakdown and hurt my baby.
I groaned a little thanks to my very sore back. Passing any day was becoming harder.
“Don’t overdo it. I can tell it is not hard for women. You are only making a fool out of you.” I didn’t look back and continued my walk to the bathroom.
Coming out I didn’t find him. All the things I had been planning for months vanished into thin air and here I stood with something I hate most. Being at his mercy. The worst part he doesn’t know any.
I walked to the bed. And, the way his eyes look at me flashed my mind. After all of this…me lying to him about loving him…I was expecting him to kill me. But instead, he made me sign some stupid papers that…I gulped and looked at my belly.
How somebody couldn’t want you, Ava. My throat pained and my chest felt stuffy. I wonder why he had to be physical with me when he hates me so much. I recalled his body literally taking everything of me. I wonder if he is punishing me.
Pulling my hair back I stared at the wall that was white. The room was all white with grey bedding. Well, I guess it is better…I mean…he could have killed me and Ava.
One thing was sure he hated anyone who is a threat to his money. Looking at the ceiling I clasped my hands. “Just protect my Ava. I swear…I will give anything for her to have a good life. Please…please…make him have some mercy on us. If I had to be with him why can’t he for once stop hurting me?” For a moment I wanted to cry for why my fate was screwed but I knew I got no time for this. At this time, I could only want an angel to help me in all this…and, maybe…Ava is that angel.
I took the shower before coming out in my white robe. Getting to the intercom I asked for breakfast and went to the balcony. The city was amazing but the heat was insane. It seems everyone was here rich. I could spot Mercedes, Audi and sports cars almost everywhere.
I turn around to find Mina, the housemaid here. She set my food on the table and added, “Mr Lucca has called for your presence.” I offered her a smile and took my time to walk into his room. He stood naked running his hand in his hair.
“Get my suit for me.” He said making me twist my mouth. I didn’t say much and helped him get ready. He had his eyes fixed on me whenever I looked up.
“You really thought you are over my days. Didn’t you?... Oh, I will lose my body and have his son and will mooch off of him without having to give him anything.” I set his tie and didn’t reply. He could think whatever he wanted. I turned to get his wallet but jumped when he held my wrist.
“I wonder how it was like when you told someone how suffocated it is to live with me.” I saw something change in his eyes. I wonder if he wanted to hurt me.
“You left me with no option,” I said hurriedly.
“Really?” He inched near.
“Matteo…I never said no to anything you asked me to do…” I took a step back. “…but I couldn’t give up on my baby. You…forced that tattoo on me when I said no…” My voice was breaking. “…I knew saying no will be of no use.”
“And…Do you know the worst part of your escaping? You telling someone you are not happy with me. You broke the code. That…sure I will never forget. Mrs Lucca was far better than you. And, why she won’t be. She belonged to our class. She…knew what the world sees matters most.”
“Matteo...” He broke into fists of a laugh.
“You really think I want to hear you….but here...” He walked to me again and this time I stood static.
“I want my wife all the time despite the fact this baby needs you.” He left and I wonder what he meant.
After being done with my breakfast I decided to look for things I have managed for Ava so far. I was relaxed he didn’t demand to dress up for him like before. For now, if anything I want him to let me go. He was nothing but toxic, evil, and there was no way it can be changed with time.
“Mrs Lucca, someone is here to see you.” Mina came to tell me and I wonder who it could be. I changed into one of my maternity dresses before getting to see who it is. I had tied my hair into a low bun and came out to see a man standing at the far corner. I blinked the moment he turned around.
“You look beautiful,” My eyes trailed to the bouquet he was holding.
“Liam?” I was still in disbelief.
“Wow, you look amazing.” He said and I tried to smile but it was really weird. How come he was here? Matteo tries no one gets near me so I don’t have anyone to tell on him.
“Thank you,” I accepted the bouquet and as if he was getting the clue he started explaining. “Mr Lucca forgot a file and I am assisting the planning manager here. He asked me to…” He trailed off before mentioning. “I was looking forward to seeing you…thought to buy you flowers.” For a second, I looked at his smile. He still looked very boyish but this professional suit does give him a reliable look.
He licked his lips before starting, “How are you doing?” There was an underlying meaning. He sounded a little worried too.
“I…I am fine…see.” I shrugged my shoulders and he nodded.
“Why…don’t you have a seat?” I offered before turning to Mina. I don’t know why I was so jumpy I didn’t want to be.
“Please…” I said and Mina left to serve him something.
“I wanna be honest. I am not here to sit.” I looked at him wondering what he meant. I smiled, “Of course, about the file…”
“I have already asked the staff. I know Julie…everything.” I looked at him static.
“You are not happy with him. I know…I know you ran away and they were low key…looking for you…everywhere.” I don’t know I ever talked to him except for one time I told him about my feelings and now he was standing here knowing my marriage was everything ruined.
“You…you are mistaken. I am sure.” And, I knew it wasn’t enough.
“...I don’t know what you are talking about.” Looking into his eyes was different. I wonder why Matteo even hired him. My jaw dropped when he held my hands.
“You don’t need to do this. You can trust me, Julie.” I turned to the left and placed the bouquet on the table. The living area had a huge glass at my left with a white huge sofa set in the middle. Mina came to serve the tea. It was a very special one in the U.A.E. She didn’t stay there and left.
I took the seat so he could…have some distance. He continued standing and started, “I was in a relationship with Peter’s assistant. Well, it is over now but…I know they were looking for you. I don’t care about the reason why you escaped. I am sure…you must have no other option.”
“There were some misunderstandings but…everything’s fine.” I wonder if he was a test from Matteo. And, for the sake of Ava, I couldn’t ruin it.
I like him but I can’t trust him. He could be taking a lot of money from Matteo for all I know.
“This…this is my card. You know you can call anytime.” I gave him a tight smile and didn’t receive the card from him.
“I really don’t know what you are talking about…but I really don’t need your help.” I hope there was nothing wrong with my gesture.
He placed the card on the table before adding, “If you don’t want to do it for you. Do it for your baby. I am sure this baby…”
“Liam…please.” Oh god, his name…why he was here?
“…Please don’t do this. When I am telling you everything is fine you are supposed to believe it…please…please.” I said and he nodded before whispering. “I don’t know Julie. I just want you to be safe…and, happy. I wish I hadn’t said no to you. I was…rude. And, I said mean things.”
No, we were not going there.
“And, now I am happy. And, there was nothing wrong with what you said at that time. I…” One of the staff came with the file.
“I am sure it is important that they sent you here,” I said and bid him farewell and didn’t see him leaving. I was breathless getting into my room. I was sure it was one of Matteo’s pranks. Torturing me like this was…a lot.
I rearranged things thinking if anytime I had to go to the hospital. And, couldn’t help but wonder what turns things will take after Ava. I wanted nothing but Matteo to never hurt Ava.
It was around one when Matteo returned. I was sitting in the living room knitting white socks for Ava. I looked up and he got static looking at what I had in my hands. He resumed his walk only to look at me again.
“What? You are supposed to follow me. You forgot?” He yelled before disappearing into his room. I huffed frustrated. I wonder why he can’t see that I should be left alone.
I followed him. His suit jacket was already on this chair. I got him to get his tie and inhaled when he leaned to kiss. His hand travelled to my waist.
“I…I have a sore back. I…can we wait until…” He pulled away and smiled.
“Fine…it’s not like I am interested in you.” I twisted my mouth when he trailed his hand up and grazed my nipple over my fabric. “…You are just available to me…not desired by me. You get it, right? You should know that much.”
Time went on and things remained the same. I wonder what was going on here. He seemed pretty much busy every day. And, then one day I looked at a flyer in the living room stating the River Land project. And, got why we were here. The night before his mega project someone named Jabbar threw a huge party to celebrate his success that was being quoted as everyone’s winning.
There were some lady dresses in his closet but all were for zero sizes. I knew I can’t ask him for the dress so I chose my simple grey colour maternity dress and ironed it perfectly before pairing it with my most expensive pearl necklace and matching gloves. Dabbing a little make up I chose the dark shade lipstick. I got out of my room and get into his to only find him in his boxers.
“You look hideous.” I know I don’t. Mina praised my outfit. But yea…I know I was tired though I tried to hide it with makeup.
We left for the party after I dressed him. He opened the door for me and I get it was a party where he wanted to act.
I met Mr and Mrs Hashimi. Mrs Hashimi’s sister was here too and many of their relatives too. It was as if Matteo was the most wanted person at the party. Everyone wanted to talk to him but Matteo was giving importance to those who were approaching him through Mr Hashimi.
“I think you should take a seat.” Mrs Hashimi’s sister told me at one point but Matteo’s hand presses against my waist and I shook my head. My feet were killing me and there was this constant pain in my back.
“I am fine. I am used to it.” I replied,
“No, you should sit. It must be hard. At this time you should pamper yourself the most. It is not about looking best.” Mrs Hashimi added and Matteo answered.
“Yea…I am hungry too. Why don’t you have something and sit too?” He said the last two words in a whisper to me. He seemed pissed.
“Seriously…this is what you wanted right? Empathy? This is what people like you want.” He hissed as we took our seats. The moment Mr Saud approached him he left my side to have a talk with him. Mrs Saud came to sit beside me and smiled.
“I never thought you will have his baby. I have got a little gist from Saud on how this family works.” I smiled and turned to look at Matteo who seemed absorbed in his talk.
“Really? Tell me about it? But I don’t have something to note down. Can you email me the details? Because I would love to have your insights on how MY family works.” Her smile vanished and I turn to Matteo to find he was still busy talking. He did look at me and I smiled assuring everything was fine.
She left and stood with Saud. I found her saying something in her husband’s ear and surprisingly Matteo didn’t seem offended by her act. Her husband looked at me before looking at Matteo and left leaving his wife and Matteo alone. Was she going to tell on me? Really?
Mrs Hishimi’s sister came to sit beside me and advises me on things to keep the temperature of the room. She asked about the architect who designed the room for the baby but smiled when she got to know it was me. And, that too was a lie.
“Though I could do it too. I didn’t want to have any chances for my baby.” I smiled and turn to find Matteo was nowhere. I couldn’t spot Mrs Saud too. Something dropped in my stomach. Oh please…don’t let it be what I think it is.
“Excuse me?” I said before leaving my table and looked around a little to no vain. I did spot Mr Saud but he seemed busy with his friends.
The venue was a famous hotel here. The minister of state affairs was one of the important people too. His wife passed me a smile as I made my way up. I went up to notice a huge sitting area. Some men and women were here too but a little more intimate. Though my presence drew some eyes to me they didn’t bother to look twice.
I walked into the hallway that was wide and was adorned with beautiful vases. In the end, there was a huge balcony from where a very chilly wind blew. I walked there to find Matteo’s back on me. It wasn’t hard to spot a pair of arms snaked around his neck.
And, before I could witness more I turned around. Gulping hard I rubbed my tears away and made my way down. I prayed no one looks at me. Mrs Hashimi did try to make her way to me but I passed her trying my best to keep my composure.
Once out I gasped for my burning lungs. Clutching on the necklace I let the beads drop. Taking the stairs down I looked at the road. I didn’t know the way back but I couldn’t stay here. Hell, it was better if I just get lost. I walked until there was a corner. I took the left turn and continued. I remembered we passed the building on our way to coming here. I crossed the road and winced once the rain hit the road.
I wonder if there was not a single person here in this class who abides by basic morality. How easy it was for Matteo to find wiling women and he never misses a chance to be a manwhore. I felt lonely, caged and helpless.
I gasped feeling my water broke. Taking a hand on my head I started to walk for the shade at a bus point when I noticed an umbrella over me. Looking above I found Liam. How much I wished my eyes weren’t red.
“It is fine. Everything will be alright.” He pulled me close and I couldn’t get my tears in check. I hiccupped before letting myself carried in the fists of whimpers. “I…I need to go to the hospital,” I whispered in his neck and he held me for a few before guiding me into a car.
He started the car and only got around the first corner when a car coming from ahead stopped our way. This is when I felt a little pain radiating at my waistline and closed my eyes giving into the pain. Looking up I found Matteo storming to our car. Opening the door he didn’t wait to get me out of the car.
“Matteo,” I barely whispered and giving into his stronghold gave my best to leave the car.
“What the hell is this? How could you?” I tried to open my eyes as he spews venom.
“Don’t touch me. I saw you with Mrs Saud. Leave me…ahh.” I bent with sharp pain and found Liam approaching us from the corner of my eye.
“Mr Lucca…we need to take her to the hospital. Her water broke…” His hold only got stronger as he pointed his arm to Liam.
“Thanks…but no thanks. I am here.” For a second I felt the whole place shaking and caught his shoulder with my other hand. He started taking me to his car and opened the front door. I realized he didn’t bring the driver. I tried to normalise my breathing but jumped when he shut the door with a thud after him.
“What the hell were you doing there?” He shouted.
“What was I doing?” I asked back and looked at him disgusted. A red stain on his collar was enough to brim my eyes.
He raced the car to the same building where we were living. “Matteo…I need to go to the hospital.” My voice broke as he left without letting me finish.
“You really think I will buy it. He was trying to save his ass.” He said coming to my side.
“No,” I cried out of frustration.
“Please…” But he only got me out. We took the lift to our place but I twisted his hand.
“Where is your necklace?” I groaned in pain but only find him saying. “Did you gave it to Liam?” I got his collars and pulled him down and growled louder.
“I threw the necklace away when you were fucking Mrs Saud. You…” My vision was getting blurry with tears. “…are an asshole.” Leaving him with a jerk I tried to take balance against the glassy wall of the elevator.
I opened my eyes to find his attention at my feet. And, looking down I found a thin trail of blood travelling to my foot.
I stayed at my place still when he punched the wall. I walked to my room and not knowing what to do went onto sit inside the tub. Not fifteen minutes later three women arrived. Only one of them knew how to speak English.
They helped me clean up and got me to the bedroom. I waited and wonder what will happen to Ava if I didn’t survive this. Will she be fed, loved or cared for? I didn’t want to die. I wanted to live for my Ava. The morning arrived and the pain only intensified. For the hundredth time, I imagined how it will be for her to live with Matteo alone. What if she walked onto him like I did last night and sobbed harder.
Not for once, Matteo came in. I wish I could ask someone to protect Ava. I don’t know who was that woman but she let me held her hand. I was drained. And, only took some orange juice in the morning. I don’t know why I cried to them and asked them to protect my Ava. They were complete strangers to me but I guess this is what pretty much my life.
No matter how I tried to earn things and keep my dignity I always ended up asking for favours. This is how my life turned out to be without having my parents or family and I didn’t want Ava to go through the same. At eight in the morning, my contractions went on too strong. I couldn’t take water. I felt like I will throw up if I took anything.
My baby was strong as she fought for her life. If there was anyone who was mine in this it was my daughter. At nine in the morning, I was told to follow the urge to push. I wonder why she was so slow. Or if everything was fine with her? At ten I was told her heartbeat was going low.
I cried louder as we fought for us. I swear I won’t leave you. I swear I will protect you. Just don’t give up on me, Ava. Just don’t.
I hiccupped so loud and cried out gasping when I was told they can see her. And, in a few minutes, I give in to fits of hiccups when I first saw her. I don’t know who gave her to me. My eyes were only for my baby who was crying her loudest. As if she knew how we two were strangled. I held my little one close and couldn’t thank enough my lord almighty who took me here.
An ill-fated like me never saw this coming. And, I swear I will give my all to give her whatever my angel deserves. I kissed her all the while getting my arm up to hold her close. Those women didn’t disturb our moment and I couldn’t be more thankful to them.
They helped me out with Ava and I couldn’t stop looking at her. I didn’t get to look into her eyes as she soon went to sleep after crying. But her hair and chin mirrored mine. It was only her forehead and eyebrows that mimic her father.
One of the women stayed beside me. She asked me to sleep but I couldn’t stop looking at her. “My shift will end in the evening. You should take some sleep. I am here to take care of her.” She said but I didn’t move. I grazed my thumb on her cheek and smiled when she reacted.
“So, it’s a girl.” I looked at the door where Matteo stood. The woman who was sitting beside me congratulated Matteo before leaving and, there it was. I couldn’t help but feel the urge to hide Ava from him. And, how much I wished that my arms are enough for her.
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