I was standing in front of the mirror in the bathroom, looking at my bloodshot eyes, pain evident in them. I saw my dress all ruined with my blood, and my arm and hands were also covered in red. I stripped down and stood under the shower. Warm water relaxed my muscles and washed away not only the blood but also my tears. I stood there till the water turned cold. Eventually, the blood stopped, and I searched for the first aid kit in the cabinet boxes in bathroom and found one.
I sat down on the bath tub holding first aid kit and a towel. I pat dried the wound and cleaned it with anti-septic before applying the Band-Aid. I wore a bath robe that was already in the bathroom and went to bedroom. My suitcases were already in the room. I grabbed my pajamas and changed before going to bed.
I had been lying on the bed in my new bedroom, staring at the ceiling since two hours. Although I had cleaned and bandaged the cut on my arm, it was throbbing painfully. And sleep was miles away from me. Tears brimmed in my eyes when I remembered Ethan’s behavior. I knew I needed to be careful around him. I was missing my family already and wanted to be with them. Then I remembered that I needed to call Chris to thank him for the gift as well as to check upon Sarah. I started searching for my clutch but couldn’t find it anywhere. I tried to remember that where I lost it and realized that I dropped it and the gift when Ethan broke the vase. So, it was in the hall.
I carefully went out of the room and surprisingly the lights were not off outside. It was the same dim light. I picked the gift and the clutch from the ground and ran towards my room. When I turned the door knob, I heard loud noise of scattering things from the room at my back. I knew what it was. Ethan was getting out his anger on the furniture of his room.
A gasp escaped my mouth when I realized that my room was exactly opposite to his room. I heard the sound again and jumped in fear. I hurriedly entered my room, locking it. Ethan had serious anger issues, and it made me anxious. I didn’t know how to deal with that temperament. Shaking my head, I opened the gift my brother sent, and a smile formed on my face. It was a beautiful customized watch with my and Chris’s black and white photo in the background. A happy tear escaped my eye at the thought and effort that he had put despite being busy with business and Sarah’s pregnancy.
I called him and waited him to pick it up.
“Hi Crystal,” he picked at the last ring.
“Hi Chris, how are you, Sarah and the Baby?” I asked him.
“We all are fine,” he chuckled and replied in sleepy tone. “Oh, congratulations baby sis. Can’t believe my little angel has grown up so fast and is a wife now. I’m so sorry that we couldn’t make to the wedding. But I’ve sent you the gift. Did you get it? Do you like it? It was the only thing that I could think of to give you,” he was definitely rambling in sleep.
“Chris,” I spoke to stop his talk. “Thank you. I loved the gift. It’s the best gift I have ever got. And… don’t be sorry for not attending the wedding. I understand it must be hard on you with everything.”
“It is hard to see my girl getting tired, and she is always in murderous mood because she is on bed rest which she hates,” he chuckled probably remembering her childish threats when he didn’t let her go in the garden.
“By the way, what are you doing up this hour? Where is your husband? Well, you should be enjoying your wedding night. Go, make me uncle,” he laughed, teasing me.
“Chris! You seriously have a dirty mouth. And you are the first brother who is saying such stuff to his sister. Get lost.”
“What! I am not some idiot who is going to ignore the things which happen between a couple when they are together, more specifically married couple, when it comes to my sister.”
“Oh God Chris! You are unbelievable. Good night,” I cut the call without hearing his reply.
I didn’t know I was blushing by the time I hung up on him until I saw my reflection in the mirror which was in a corner, facing me.
I was up all night; sleep was nowhere near me. My brain was just not at ease and I knew it wouldn’t get peace anytime in the long run.
I turned and tossed all night. When tossing and turning got bored, I got up frustrated and checked time on my phone. It was five thirty in the morning, another half an hour for my alarm to go off. I abandoned all my thoughts of getting sleep, and I freshened myself.
This time Ethan was probably asleep and I wanted to explore the house before him getting up. I was hungry also; I didn’t have dinner last night and I barely ate at my wedding. The thought of my wedding brought the tears back.
Wiping my tears away, I went down, barefooted, in search of kitchen. After two wrong turns, I finally found it.
It was really big and well equipped. I smiled to myself. This kitchen was going to be my second home.
Unlike others, I drank cold coffee in the morning, every day. Therefore, I started looking for the ingredients and blender.
I found all the ingredients; however, blender was not in sight. I stated rummaging through drawers and cabinets in search of it. There it was, in the top cabinet; far from my reach.
I cursed my height, and this house was obviously built for a giant. I stood on my toes to reach the blender, but it was still out of my reach. I looked for a stool, but there wasn’t any; only heavy chairs.
I sighed and went for the blender again in hope of reaching it by any luck.
All of a sudden, a hand brushed mine, freezing me at the spot. Those big hands took the blender and set it down on the shelf.
A woody musk scent infiltrated my senses, and I know who was standing behind me. Ethan didn’t move, and I was trapped between him and the shelf. His body was emitting heat. I didn’t turn around to face him. I was clenching and unclenching my hands and praying silently for him to move.
He must have sensed my discomfort, and I assumed that he would keep on standing behind me just to make me more uncomfortable. But after few seconds, he moved away, and I felt cold in that moment. At the same time, I released the breath which I was holding back.
I moved away from the shelf, and started making cold coffee. My actions were jerky because of one man, who was sat in a chair. During all this time, I didn’t look in his direction fearing him because the incidents of the last night were so fresh in my mind.
When I pressed the button on the blender, only then I dared to look in his direction. He was in his suit, and I was little confused. He was reading some of the documents, not paying any attention to the noise of blender.
It was just little past 6, and he was ready for the office! I mentally scowled at him and pitted his employees who had to endure his early morning working habits. I knew how this feels because Chris made Ash and I to work in the mornings on multiple occasions.
Probably sensing my eyes on him, he gazed in my direction, and I was stood frozen in my place again, unable to look away. A tiny part of my brain registered the fact that this man was devilishly handsome. I pushed those thoughts away as I also knew how cruel and violent he can be.
He smirked knowingly at me, and darted his eyes towards the blender. I jerked out of my thoughts and registered the fact that I forgot to turn off the blender.
My cheeks blushed in embarrassment, I took my coffee and abandoned my thought of making breakfast. I wanted to leave the kitchen as soon as possible. On my way out, Ethan grabbed my right hand, startling me. This was a sudden action and I spilled some of the coffee on the floor.
He sighed and grabbed the glass from my hand before putting on the table. He jerked me closer, and I was at his eye level, since he was still sat in the chair.
He studied my face emotionlessly and his cold gaze was making me anxious.
“You have 20 minutes to get ready. You are coming to office with me.” He ordered in his cold and authoritative voice. I furrowed my brows a little as I was confused.
He sighed and pinched his nose. His lips were sat in thin line. He exhaled again and his minty breath fanned my face, causing strange ripples in my stomach. I blamed my hunger for these sensations, and closed my eyes.
“Look at me when I talk,” he snarled. My eyes opened in reflex.
He grabbed my both upper arms and pulled me towards him, almost touching our bodies. A loud gasp escaped my mouth when a sharp pain shot through me. He had put pressure on the wound.
I wanted to scream in pain but suppressed it, because I feared his reaction. And suppressing the pain was more painful.
“I don’t know how I’m gonna tolerate you, but I don’t have a choice,” he said in low tone while shaking his head in denial.
Tears brimmed in my eyes, and a low sob escaped my mouth. His stoic face remained unchanged. He put more pressure on my arms, his grip was so tight. As a result, I cried loudly. Due to pain, my body bent forward, and I collided with his chest.
He released my left arm, and his hold on my right arm loosened a bit. He pushed back. His eyes were looking at something. When I turned to see what he was looking at, a choke escaped my mouth again.
His hand was covered in blood. The bandage was removed when he held my arm tightly, and the wound reopened.
Ethan looked at me with an unreadable expression. After few seconds, he stood up, pushing the chair back. He took my right hand and dragged me with him. He rounded the kitchen island and , once he let go my hand, he started looking for something in the drawers.
He took out a first aid box from one of the boxes, and placed on the counter. Then he came near me, towering me with his height. Grabbing my waist, Ethan made sit on the kitchen island. I gasped, still teary eyed due to the pain.
Ethan rolled my sleeve up, and examined the wound. He shook his head, and grabbed the first aid box and started cleaning my wound.
“Ahh!!” I cried loudly when he rubbed alcoholic antiseptic on the wound. It stung like a bitch.
I tried to push his hand away but he didn’t budge.
“Relax, let me clean this, otherwise it will get infected,” he scolded me harshly.
More tears welled in my eyes, but I didn’t let any sound out.
Once he dressed my wound, he didn’t step back. He stood there, and tucked my hair behind the ear. He ran the knuckles on my cheeks ever so softly that this simple touch evoked so many emotions in me.
He stepped back suddenly as if he came to his senses. He pinched his nose before rubbing his forehead. He stood straight to his full height. His authoritative stance was back. He handed me half-filled coffee glass.
“20 minutes. Hurry up! I won’t wait for another second. If you didn’t come out in 20, I would drag you out by myself. Understood?” he said, looking at me intensely. I nodded and jumped down from the kitchen island. I dashed to my room, leaving him standing in the kitchen.