Welcome To Heartbreak

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Chapter 26

When I woke up the next day, I was covered in hay and under Adam’s shirt. I didn’t know what time it was, but I knew the sun had already risen.

I was aware that it could probably be past 7 AM, and that I could be caught while trying to go to my room, but, in that moment, the last thing I wanted was to get up, or to even move.

Adam slept peacefully by my side, his arm unconsciously stopping me from moving away, given that it was wrapped around my naked waist. His face was leaned on my shoulder and I was afraid that he’d wake up in case I moved. It was just that... he looked everything but damaged or angry now that, I was afraid to disturb him in any way.

I sighed while gazing at him and harked back to the night we’d had. In that instance, I felt my heart tighten in my chest and butterflies in my stomach when I pictured us in my mind, making love. And then, in the end, we’d cuddled against each other, and I’d been the first to fall asleep while Adam spoke about his horses and stroke my skin ever-so-gently with his warm hands.

That was what I’d be fighting for later on today.

After last night, I knew I had a chance with Adam. Last night... it felt like if there really wasn’t anyone in the world, but me and Adam. It felt like if we hadn’t argued at all for the past weeks.

At any rate, I had to get up and go back to the house. I prayed it wasn’t yet 7 AM, because if it was... every maid would be already up, which meant I’d definitely get caught by someone. So, I started pulling away from Adam’s grasp, hoping he wouldn’t wake up. Thankfully, he didn’t.

I slowly got up and then looked for my clothes, which were all spread around the hay. I tried not to do any noise at all while I reached for them. Then, as I put them on, I noticed Adam’s horses weren’t inside the stable. Had they left us soon after Adam got out of control? Or had they stayed and watched us, and then left? Either way, it didn’t bother me, as long as the horses were the only ones that had seen us.

Already fully dressed, I approached Adam. Carefully, I bent down, and gazed at him. Once more, I felt those butterflies in my stomach, like I’d never felt before. I couldn’t help but to think that, tonight I’d be with him, fighting for him. What would be his reaction when he’d seen me, instead of Alexis, especially after the night we’d had?

Anyway, it would have to wait, because I still had to work and talk to his father. So, I bent down and kissed his lips. Then, I got up and dashed out of the stable, running towards the house the fastest I could, hoping no one would see me.

When I reached the huge mansion, I silently walked in through the backyard door, and so far, I’d encountered no one. I walked thought the corridor until I reached the main hall. It was in that moment that I heard two maids coming towards me. I quickly hid in the dining room, knowing no one would come in there, since it was probably too early to set the table for the Coopers.

After the maids passed by without noting me, I once more darted towards the stairs and ran upstairs. Since I didn’t have anywhere to hide now, I had to be fast and reach the last floor where my room was. As soon as I walked in my room, I closed the door and looked for a watch to see what time it was – 7:15 AM.

So far, I was only fifteen minutes late. I could deal with being fifteen minutes late. Maybe Glenda wouldn’t even say anything to me, and holding on to that thought, I quickly changed clothes, and did the braid, without even combing my wild hair. Then, after I washed my face and brushed my teeth, I ran downstairs towards the kitchen, where most of the maids were already eating their breakfast.

I spotted Becca sat beside Linda, but decided to join, nevertheless.

“Good morning,” I said, smiling.

“Oh, good morning, Eva!” Becca said in her always perky tone. As for Linda, she just nodded, and immediately resumed eating her breakfast, like if my presence there meant she couldn’t talk to Becca about anything. “Slept well?”

I couldn’t help but to grin, “Amazingly well, actually.”

“Dreamt of something good?”

“I guess you could say that,” I shrugged, not being able to avoid the images of me and Adam in my mind, from last night. “What about you? You’re pretty perky.”

Becca started answering, but I didn’t listen to her. I looked at Linda and became aware she was gazing at me, like if she’d never seen me before, all of a sudden. I pursed my lips, not feeling comfortable with her gaze. I felt as if she’d could see through me and find out that I’d spent the night Adam. Then, she looked at someone else – Rita. She too was looking at me, as if she knew what I’d done.

What the hell was wrong with these two? Not standing their gazes anymore, I asked, “Is there something wrong?”

Linda shook her head and smiled... nastily. “Oh, no. I’m very, very good.”

I looked at her through narrowed eyes, and there was something that didn’t feel right. Still, I decided to ignore her mysterious and nasty smile, and began eating my breakfast, as Becca resumed her story about some day off and a job offer. Wait, what? “What job offer, Becca?”

“I just told you, Eva, I had a job interview yesterday, and it went really well!”

“Wait a minute... you’re quitting this job?”

Becca nodded, “If I get the other job, yes.”

I just looked at her, horrified. Becca was like the one maid I liked here, besides my aunt! And even my aunt didn’t escape my hatred, sometimes! With whom would I have those chit chats and who would fill me in about things related to the Coopers? Linda and Rita? No way! Rita hated me with all of her heart after the fight we’d had and the punishment she’d gotten because of it, and Linda just... didn’t like me, and vice-versa!

“Are you really serious?” I asked, trying not to stumble on my own words, “I mean, do they pay you as well as the Coopers pay? Is the job worth it? Do you-”

“Has everyone finished eating?” Glenda cut me off when she got up from her seat and raised her tone of voice. Most of the maids had, including Becca, Linda and Rita. They answered in unison, and so Glenda continued, “So the chores for today are the following ones...”

Before I could keep questioning Becca about this sudden new job of hers, she was no longer beside me, and had already set off to take care of her chores, along with Rita. Linda stayed my side for some minutes, but she too got going after she finished her breakfast. As for me, I remained there, a little too dumbfound. I mean, Becca was... She was like my friend, now, even if we didn’t talk as much as I’d like to, but... come on!

With those thoughts on my mind, I took a while to finish my breakfast, but when I did, Glenda told me my chores for the morning.

Worthless to say that, not only I was worried about the conversation I’d have to have with Mr. Cooper, but I also couldn’t believe my only friend on this house was moving on. I’d be all alone, now! Every single maid couldn’t stand me, because I’d been only one that had gotten Adam! They all hated me for that! And the ones who didn’t were afraid to even talk to me, like if I had some infectious disease!

I felt outraged, really. However, I guess I should feel happy for Becca, shouldn’t I? I mean... she’d get out of this house. She wouldn’t have to worry about this whole family, anymore. For that, I guess... I guess I envied her. I’d have to be here for the rest of my life, with or without Adam.

Only because you want, this voice said in my head. It took me a while to figure out it was my own conscious. Maybe you too should leave this house, and get on with your life.

Well, I guess I could make the choice to leave the Cooper’s mansion, I’d even thought about that, before. But... where would I live? God, I was stuck with this dysfunctional family forever.

But what if things don’t work out between you and Adam? What if Alexis was wrong, and Adam will never be yours?

“I guess if Alexis was wrong, Adam wouldn’t have even slept with me last night.” I grumbled, replying to my own conscious. It was true, though. Adam wouldn’t have had sex with me, if he’d made up his mind for sure. He loved me. I had a shot with him, and I wasn’t about waste it. But now... now I had that question clinging to my head. Then, what will you do, if Adam doesn’t want you? Will you keep living here, watching him getting married to Rachel? Will you stand to see the man you love have a happy life with a woman who is not you?

My morning was spent doing all of the chores Glenda had ordered me, and was spent thinking about Becca’s possible departure and... and how I would adapt my life if Adam actually wouldn’t... wouldn’t choose me. I tried to answer those questions in my mind, but I was too feeble to find the answers, like it always happened.

I was called to serve lunch to the Coopers around 1 PM. Lucky me, Cooper Senior wasn’t there to torment me with his piercing and painful gazes. I thought Adam wouldn’t show up, by the time his father and his guest, Mrs. Cooper and Brad began having lunch, but I was wrong.

When Adam walked in the dining room, everyone stared at him. He looked a mess. His hair was messy, his face needed to be washed with cold water, and everybody could see he’d just gotten up. He looked as if he’d gotten drunk last night, when instead he’d been with me. At any rate, he pretended nothing had happened, because he didn’t even look in my direction. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as strong as he was, and couldn’t take my dark blue eyes off Allison’s son.

“Why are you wearing the same clothes from yesterday, Adam?” It was Mrs. Cooper that asked the question.

Adam sat down, quietly, probably making an effort to not yawn at the table, and then replied, “I spent the night at the stable.”

“Oh, sweetie, you shouldn’t really pay that much attention to the horses.” His stepmother replied, genuinely worried about him. I wondered what Allison would say in that situation. However, I didn’t think much about it, because I was far more worried about the way Rita and Linda were suddenly looking at me again across the room.

“Let the boy do what he wants, Gabi.” Mr. Cooper said. “He’ll soon be a married man, and he won’t have the time to take care of his horses.”

“So let him spent his last free time with them.” Robert said, grinning and looking at Adam. “If he wants to spend his nights in blank, taking care of them, let him-”

“Oh my god, Eva!” I suddenly heard Linda blurting out. She pointed at me, surprised. My eyebrow arched, along with everybody else’s on the room. “Is that hay on your hair?”

And before I knew it, everyone had turned their heads towards me, including Adam. With every eye on me, I couldn’t move. I didn’t even know if I wanted to. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed I had hay stuck to my hair!

“Turn you head around, Eva.” Mr. Cooper ordered me, in his cultured and serious voice. No, no. This couldn’t happen again! I couldn’t get caught! Still, I did as I was told, as always. I turned my head, and I even heard someone gasping. It was probably Mrs. Cooper, or maybe even Linda. Why hadn’t she told me I had hay on my hair? I mean, hadn’t she spent a considerable amount of time staring at me throughout breakfast? Unless...

“The only place there’s hay, is at the stable, where...” Linda trailed off purposely, causing the effect she wanted to.

Bitch. She’d seen the hay on my hair, and that was why she’d smiled nastily at me! And now, she was screwing me. I couldn’t believe it!

I turned around again to look at the Coopers, though they all looked at one person, now, and it wasn’t me. It was Adam. However, Robert had his eyes on me, and to my surprise, he was still grinning. As for me, I didn’t know whether I should stay or leave. I didn’t know which would be better to keep my job.

“Excuse me,” I spoke, clearing my throat. I was such a coward. “I have something else to do.” And not daring to look at their questioning eyes, I dashed out of the dining room.

I didn’t know where I could hide, but I knew it was just a matter of time until the lunch ended and Mr. Cooper sent a maid to fetch me. I was so freaking screwed... Now I’d surely blown off my chances to have the rest of the day off! I really couldn’t believe Linda had done it on purpose. Still, the only one to blame was me, after all. I should have checked my hair, or any part of my body, to see if I didn’t have anything that allowed someone to discover I’d been at the stable. Why didn’t I do that? God, I was so stupid I even pitied myself!

I went to the nearest bathroom and looked at the mirror. I found the hay and set it free from my wild black hair. Afterwards, I remained in the bathroom, stared at me in the mirror for a long time and thought how the hell I was so careless! Adam and I could be caught, now! And I’d been a coward by leaving him alone to be tormented and bombarded by all type of questions about this! What would he even say?

I sat on the toilet, buried my head on my hands, and thought, calm down, Eva, calm down. You know Adam always finds a way to resolve things. I knew that, I really did, but... I couldn’t help but to think that I’d just ruined my shot with Mr. Cooper! He was surely thinking that I’d spent the night with Adam! He’d even told them flat-out that he’d spent the night at his stable! And, of course, those bitches took advantage of it to screw me!

What the hell would I do now? What if Mr. Cooper wouldn’t allow me to spend the rest of the day away? What if Adam wouldn’t even want to speak to me, because I’d practically screwed the both of us?

“Eva?” Oh, great! It was my aunt knocking on the door. The last person I wanted to see, now. “Are you there?”

At first, I thought about not answering, but I knew that would be foolish. “Yes, aunt?”

“You need to come out, now. You’ve been called to see Mr. Cooper in his office.” Already? Regardless of Mr. Cooper having interrupted is lunch on purpose or if I’d stayed in the bathroom longer than I was aware, I knew I couldn’t run. It useless, really.

At a snail’s pace, I got up and opened the door, immediately facing my aunt. As soon as her eyes saw me, they roamed all over my head, as if looking for the hay that had handed me in. When she didn’t find it, she looked at me, her expression everything but kind. “You were with Adam, weren’t you?”

“You want me to lie to you?” I asked her, trying not to breakdown, again.

“No.”

“Then don’t ask me that.” I replied bitterly, and then turned around, and walked upstairs, towards Mr. Cooper’s office, glad my aunt hadn’t insisted, this time.

On my way, I breathed in and out, slowly, thinking of all the possible excuses for the appearance of hay in my hair. I mean, everything was against me, this time. Adam had spent the night at the stable, so they all thought I’d been with him! I had the freaking hay on my hair, placing me in the crime scene!

When I reached the door, I knocked. “Come in.” It was Mr. Cooper’s voice. I swallowed dryly, and reunited the courage to turn the doorknob and open the door. I immediately took peered inside, and was surprised to see Adam stood in front of his father. When I stepped in and closed the door, I became aware Robert was also there, sat on a comfy couch on the right part of the room.

“Sit down, Eva.” Mr. Cooper pointed at the chair in front of his desk, right beside Adam. I did as I was told and sat down, not daring to look at Adam. “I’m honestly tired of seeing you for the same old reason.”

“Mr. Cooper, I-”

“I’ve told you, dad, I was the one who asked her to come with me!” Adam suddenly said, before I started defending myself. Had he told his father what we’d talked and done?

“Let her say it, then.” Mr. Cooper said ruthlessly, never taking his frosty blue eyes off me. “My son was the one who had that idea, Eva?”

I bit my lip. Should I say yes? Well, if Adam had said it, then... “Yes.”

“I told you, dad! I’ve told you why I asked her to come with me-”

“Adam, it’s Eva’s turn to answer me, so would you please be quiet for a while?” Mr. Cooper cut him off, not tolerating Adam. However, I wished Adam would continue. What if what I’d say didn’t match what he’d said? I mean, I didn’t even know what I’d tell Mr. Cooper!

“You shouldn’t be this angry, Arthur.” I heard Robert’s voice behind me. “What Adam said is legit. He might be with Rachel, but he can’t stand to don’t know who hit Eva two weeks ago.” In that moment, I knew the excuse Adam had told his father. Still, I didn’t know why Robert was helping me out.

Mr. Cooper sighed heavily, and looked at me through narrowed eyes. “Is that true, Eva? Adam asked you to go to the stable, just to ask you who’d hit you?”

Still, I was a little suspicious, and dared to look up at Adam, who stood by my side. He was looking at me with his icy blue eyes, but I couldn’t read his blank expression. When I gazed into his eyes, I could only think about the night we’d had. Think, Eva! Adam’s father is waiting for an answer! Yes, he was, and I wasn’t helping myself by looking at Adam in such a passionate way. Well, he said Robert was cool, right? I guess I had to trust Adam on this one.

I looked back at Mr. Cooper and nodded. I couldn’t really say anything different, could I?

Mr. Cooper said and did nothing. He just stared at me with his blue eyes, reminding me of Adam. I knew he was trying to see through me, to see what Adam and I were hiding from him, but he wouldn’t get anything. I watched Mr. Cooper lean behind, still not taking his eyes off me. “Well, did you tell Adam who hurt you?”

I couldn’t believe he was asking me that. This time, I didn’t need to think about an answer. “No, I didn’t.”

“Why not?” The question came from behind.

“I can’t.” I replied to Robert, not looking over my shoulder.

“You’re never going to tell me, are you, Eva?” It was Adam’s pleading voice, and he was pretending this time. God, no. I didn’t want to talk about this! I didn’t want to remember the night his grandfather had hurt me! I turned my head away from him, running away from his piercing gaze. “Come on, kid! Someone hurt you and you’re determined to protect that person?”

I didn’t reply. It was better this way. His father was already suspicious about what we’d done at the stable; I didn’t want to argue with Adam in front of him!

“I’ll find out who that person was, I really will.” What will you do to your own grandfather, then? As if listening to my question, Adam leaned down, and whispered, “It’ll be worse for him. I’ll make him regret it.” That’s just because you don’t know it was your grandfather.

Before I knew it, Adam turned around furiously and left the room, abandoning me, just because I’d refused to answer the same question he’d asked before, and that had had the same answer. I could’ve thought he was just pretending to help me, and maybe he really was, but I knew he desperately wanted to know. I sighed and closed my eyes for a moment, thinking that he couldn’t know who’d harmed me. He just couldn’t!

“You and Adam... really didn’t do anything besides talking?” Mr. Cooper asked me, his attitude less arrogantly.

I shook my head, and lied, “We didn’t, Mr. Cooper. Adam... Adam has made his choice.” I only hoped I’d help him change it, tonight.

“Yes, he has, but that doesn’t mean he thinks believes he did the wrong one.” Mr. Cooper spoke, looking at me through narrowed eyes. There was something in them I couldn’t read, but found myself wanting to know. “Eva, I warned you that things like this couldn’t happen anymore.” He wasn’t going to fire me, was he?

“I know, but-”

“Since you weren’t the one who had the initiative, I’ll allow this to be forgotten.” I didn’t want to, but I found myself taking a deep breath in front of him. God, he’d scared for a moment. “But I must ask something of you. Please try to stay away from the other maids’ provocations this time, ok? What happened between you and Rita was enough.”

“Believe me, Mr. Cooper, the last thing I want is to be the center of attention.”

“Yet, you fell for my son, which is the center of attention on this house.” I knew that, but I didn’t plan on falling for Adam. I’d meant to stay away from him, but it was stronger than the both of us. Still, because I didn’t want to start a fight with Mr. Cooper and risk what I wanted to ask him, I lowered my head and accepted what he said without complaining.

“Let the girl be, Arthur. You don’t choose who you fall for, do you?” I didn’t dare looking at Mr. Cooper, but I was sure that Allison had crossed his mind, right now. Anyway, I had to get back to work, but before I did, I had something else to take care of.

“Mr. Cooper, I have something to ask of you.” I reunited all the courage and looked at Mr. Cooper’s glacial eyes. I just wanted to run away from that gaze, but I couldn’t. I had to do this. I had to be with Adam tonight. “A friend of mine had an accident yesterday. I know my day off is tomorrow, but I’d like to leave the house earlier and spend the night in my hometown. I know I shouldn’t even be asking something like this, but it’s my best friend, Mr. Cooper. I... I have to see her as soon as possible.” I didn’t know if I’d been convincing, but the story didn’t seem bogus.

“Why are you asking this only now, if your friend had the accident yesterday? Why not ask it as soon as you heard about it?” He was suspicious, but not as much as I thought he would be.

“Because I received the call today.” I lied with all of my teeth, but I didn’t care. I had to get out of this house today. “I meant to come to talk to you earlier, but I had chores to do, so I couldn’t.” It sounded legit, didn’t it?

Mr. Cooper just stared at me as he stirred back. I noticed him looking past me, probably gazing at Robert, now. If they were really best friends, they could probably read each other’s expressions easily. Still, I knew what was bothering him. After being with Adam in his stable, away from everyone’s ears and eyes, I’m sure Mr. Cooper was deliberating if this wasn’t just a way for me to be with Adam outside the house. It was, but he didn’t know that.

“Let her go, Arthur. She seems to be telling the truth. Look at the worried expression on her face!” Robert said, now standing beside me. I was starting to like him. He seemed to help me whenever I needed it, but was he aware of it?

“I’ll work extra hours, if it’s needed.” I said, desperately.

Mr. Cooper took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Then, he finally said, “Ok, then. You have my permission to leave the house when you have to, Eva. However, make sure I won’t regret my decision.” That was a clear waning. In other words, “Make sure I won’t catch you with Adam.” He wouldn’t.

I beamed at Adam’s father, utterly happy. “Thank you so much, Mr. Cooper! And don’t worry, you won’t regret it!” Then, I swear I saw a shadow of a smile on Mr. Cooper’s lips. Unfortunately, it vanished as fast as it had appeared. Maybe I was so happy that this had been so easy that I was already seeing things.

“I hope I won’t.” Once more, he looked at Robert, but he just grinned and shrugged a shoulder. I’d give anything to know what those two said to each other with those puzzling looks. “Anyway, you’re dismissed, Eva.”

I nodded, still smiling, and got up. Robert looked at me this time, and grinned. Honestly, that man behavior had nothing to do with Mr. Cooper’s, but maybe he’d never gone through what Adam’s father went through with the woman he loved.

At any rate, I silently walked out of his office, and closed the door behind me.

I couldn’t believe he’d really given me permission to leave the house on a working day. I was astonished, really, not to mention I thought he’d give me a harder fight, but... it had been so easy. Maybe Robert’s presence changed him somehow. Wasn’t he Mr. Cooper’s best friend? After all, best friends were known to tame us, sometimes.

However, I was worried about Adam.

I didn’t know if he was really angry at me, but I knew that deep inside him, he was not only angry about that, but surely was pissed off at himself for having spent a night with me, especially if he still had in mind what I’d told him one week ago. Well, I’d fight his bad mood if I had to. I wouldn’t be weak as I’d been so far.

I leisurely strode to the kitchen, searching for a chore that would occupy me throughout the entire afternoon, until 6 PM, when Alexis would come to pick me up, taking me to some place she’d told Adam to be there.

Before I reached the kitchen, I found Glenda halfway. She looked at me with disapproving eyes, but she didn’t say anything. As for me, I swallowed dryly, and said, “Hum, I’ve talked to Mr. Cooper and-”

“He believed your lie?”

“W-what?” I stumbled on my words, again. “I-I didn’t-”

“Oh, please, child.” Glenda said impatiently. “I’ve seen this happening. I know your aunt told you about Allison, so I’m sure you’ll take into account that you won’t fool me. In fact, Allison didn’t manage that, and neither did and will you. You spent the night with Adam.” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement.

I let my head fall. It was worthless to lie, I guess. “Don’t... don’t tell my aunt about it, Glenda. Or Mr. Cooper. My aunt is suspicious about it, but I don’t want to deal with her, I-”

“But you should.” She cut me off. I could feel her gaze weighting down on me. “You’ve created this, and now you should deal with the consequences.”

“Are you going to tell Mr. Cooper-”

“No, I won’t, child.” She interrupted me again, and in that instant, I looked up at her, hopeful. “However, I should warn you that this won’t end well. It didn’t end well the first time, and this won’t be any different. Still, I guess people need to go through it all to understand that.” I knew she was talking about Allison and Mr. Cooper, warning me that my situation would be the same. But I didn’t care. Or at least, I tried not to. I needed to believe my story would be different.

I didn’t want to argue with Glenda about Adam and I, or Allison’s story with Mr. Cooper, for that matter, so I just remained there, holding her gaze.

“Well, now that you’re free again, the dining room needs to be cleaned.” I was about to complain that I didn’t want to be with the other maids after what happened, but Glenda continued before I even spoke, “No one will be there, but you. I know Linda and Rita did what they did on purpose. Still, consider this as a minor punishment for breaking the rules, child.”

I nodded, accepting her order. Cleaning the dining room alone wouldn’t be difficult. And Glenda knew I’d do better if I worked alone. She really wasn’t as bad as people thought she was. She just tried to instill the respect she needed in people to do her job well.

After that little conversation, I turned around and followed a different way from Glenda. I was careful on my way to get what I needed to clean the dining room, given that I didn’t want to see my aunt or the bitches that had almost screwed me. And honestly, they could have screwed me, but deeply, I thought Mr. Cooper believed Adam’s story because he wanted to. I wondered why, though. Was he tired of the storm I’d brought with me, the moment Adam and I started getting closer? Either way, I was thankful he’d decided to ignore it – if he did ignore it.

When I got what I needed, I then came back to the dining room and started working, while at the same time I thought about everything I’d tell Adam about my unexpected appearance on the place Alexis was supposed to be. Would I start arguing with him straight away? Would Adam turn around, and try his hardest to ignore me, especially after last night? Honestly, I really didn’t know what to expect from him, but I did know we’d have a heated fight.

As every possible scenario crossed my mind, I cleaned the dining room, and then moved onto the main bathrooms. While I did it, I remembered my first day of work, after I’d run away when Adam proposed to Rachel, right after the night we’d spent together. I’d thrown up, since I’d felt sick, thanks to the morning-after pill Adam had made take, seeing that we’d had sex without any condom. However, last night, we hadn’t had that problem, which made me wonder. Had Adam had in mind something like that would happen? After all, I doubted he always carried condoms in his jeans. Or maybe, he just doubted his self-control, which, by the way, was always weak, and we both knew it. Well, at least this time I didn’t have to worry about it. Just the thought of being pregnant... I was just too young for it.

After some more easy chores, it was time for me to go to my room and pack whatever I needed. Mr. Cooper had told me he’d warn Glenda himself, so that was one more thing I didn’t have to worry. I just hoped my aunt wouldn’t know about it until I was out of here.

When I reached my room, the first thing I did was to take off the dreadful uniform and put on one of the summer dresses I’d bought during one of my days off with Adam. I still hadn’t forgotten the way that day had ended, where Adam had desperately begged me to allow him to have sex with me. I then grabbed a bag and stuffed it with everything I might need. Next, I undid the braid and peacefully combed my hair, since it wasn’t still 6 PM.

However, I had a little visit. Please, please, don’t be my aunt! “Who is it?”

“Robert.” I sucked in a breath when I heard him. “May I come in?” What the hell was Mr. Cooper’s best friend doing outside my bedroom? It would be understandable if it was my aunt, but... Robert?

“Oh, of course.” I replied nervously, getting up straight away. I watched Robert coming in and carefully closing the door behind him. Whilst smiling, he looked around my room for a couple of seconds, and then focused on me. “Is there something I can do to help you?”

“Everything’s fine, don’t worry. I didn’t come here to tell you to do something for me.” He said, and I restrained from enquired what he wanted from me in an arrogant manner. He must’ve read those thoughts, because he added, “I just wanted to ask you a couple of questions.”

“The same you have already asked Adam?” I couldn’t control myself when those words came out of my mind.

Robert smile, however, didn’t vacillate. “Did you talk to him?”

“No, but he warned me you might want to talk to me.”

“And when did he say that?”

“Yesterday.” He knew I’d been with Adam, so why lie about that little detail?

“I see. And what did he tell you?”

“That you were nice and that Mr. Cooper probably asked you to talk to me and Adam.” I wondered why I was being so honest with him and didn’t feel angry at myself for the same reason. I believed Adam’s judgement, but after everything that had happened... I don’t know.

“He did.” Robert disclosed, his smile transforming into a grin. “Arthur wants to know if you two are still seeing each other.”

“He wants to fire me?”

“He would like to, but he’s not capable of that.” Robert disclosed. I didn’t understand, so he explained. “I know Deena told you about Allison and Arthur’s story. Arthur doesn’t know about that, but I do. He’s trying not to make the same mistakes his father did. He doesn’t want Adam to turn into him, and he doesn’t want you to end up like Allison, bitter and unhappy.”

In other words, Mr. Cooper doesn’t want to repeat the story with his son in his place. I didn’t want that either and that was why I was going against all of my instincts. “However, he doesn’t want us to be together.”

“Honestly, I don’t know.” Without warning, Robert walked up to my balcony, and slid the glass door aside. I followed him and stopped behind him, watching him taking a look at the view I had. Still, I was too busy processing what he’d said. What did he mean he didn’t know if Mr. Cooper didn’t want us together? As far as I knew, Adam’s father hadn’t given Adam a green light to leave Rachel for me. Adam didn’t even want to leave her, despite the fact he’d relapsed twice. That was what hurt me the most. He loved me, he desired me, but he wouldn’t leave Rachel!

“Are you saying Mr. Cooper has changed his mind?” I dared to ask.

“No, I’m saying Arthur just doesn’t want to become the same man his father is.” It made sense for me. Although I’d really disliked Mr. Cooper in the beginning, now, I... I liked him, because he kind of understood me, and thanks to that, I hadn’t been yet punished the way Allison had. “Watching the story repeating itself hurts him. He suffers, because he remembers Allison and how weak he was.”

“He still loves her?” I blurted out, too curious to choke down that question.

Robert looked over his shoulder and his grin lessened to a feeble smile, “Oh, yes. Very much. Allison’s the woman of his life.”

“Then why won’t he stand up to his father? He’s old enough to do that!” I tried not to yell, but it was stronger than me. “Allison still loves him, too! They could-”

“They can’t.” Robert interrupted me, turning around. His face had suddenly darkened. “His father keeps threatening him, claiming he’ll harm her if Arthur tries to even see her.”

“But why?” His son loved Allison! His happiness clearly depended on that! He lived and slept with a woman he didn’t like!

Robert shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know, honestly. Reputation, maybe. Perhaps he’s afraid she – or you – will steal them their money.” It was too cliché for me, but I guess rich people functioned like that. I hated that man. I hated Cooper Senior with all of my heart. “We know it was his father who hit you, Eva.”

I didn’t know why, but that didn’t surprise me. However, I had only one question concerning that. “Why didn’t Mr. Cooper do something, then? I know I’m just a maid, but his father had no right to hit me-”

“Because... it would be a catastrophe.” Robert cut me off. I stayed put, with narrowed eyes on him, and let him explain. “Arthur knows how much Adam is willing to go for you when you’re hurt, we’ve all noticed the way he gets more out of control when things have to do with you. If Adam had somehow found out his grandfather had been the one to harm you, I am one hundred per cent sure he wouldn’t even think the person who’d hit you was his grandfather. All he’d have in his mind was that he’d hurt you, nothing more. It would be a disaster, and if things got worse, Adam could probably find out who was with mother, and in case that happened, I’m sure Arthur’s father would look out for revenge.”

“Against his own grandson?” I asked, incredulous. Cooper Senior was far worse than I’d thought! I wondered what he’d be capable of in case he found out I wasn’t ready to quit Adam.

“That’s Arthur’s father.” Robert sighed, and tried to smile more, but he wasn’t able to. “It’s sad how some people can’t be happy.” Yes, it is sad, I thought, more than some people, I know that.

Still, I put those sad thoughts aside my mind, and gazed at Robert. He still hadn’t questioned me as much as I thought he would. Anyway, I guess I could trust him. And if he knew Adam that well and talked to him a lot, most of the times as I sort of therapist... I had to ask him.

“Adam says he loves me, you know.” I started, walking past him and looking beyond the Cooper’s backyard, sighting the stable and some of Adam’s horses. “Whenever we’re together, we... we always end up doing what we promised wouldn’t do. Adam says he loves Rachel as well, but... how can he claim that, if he always gives in to me when we’re together?”

“You’re asking what’s his reason to be with Rachel, if – you think – he loves you more?” Robert had perfectly understood what I’d said. He came up to me, and said, “I don’t know, Eva. You’ll have to ask him that yourself, but I doubt he’ll give you an answer. However, as a therapist, I am guessing it has something to do with Arthur.”

I sighed, suddenly exhausted. No matter what I’d say or do, I guess I’d never discover his true reason, would I? “Well, thanks, anyway.” I turned around and went back inside the house. It was almost time to go outside and meet Alexis. “I need to finish packing, I-”

“Just one more thing, Eva.” Robert interrupted me, walking inside my room and up to the door. “Don’t quit Adam. Regardless of his reason to stay with Rachel, I believe Adam loves you more than he ever loved Rachel or any other woman, I guarantee you that.” There it was. One more who was telling me I shouldn’t quit Adam.

“You’re not the only one who tells me that.” I disclosed, remembering Alexis and Allison’s words.

“And surely won’t be the last.”

“Probably.” I said. Then, miserably and feeling heartbroken, I added, “Problem is, Adam is the only one who doesn’t see that.”

Robert smiled, “I’m sure you’ll find a way to make him see.” And then, he turned around, opened the door and walked out of my room, leaving me wondering. Did he know of what I intended to do tonight? Or... he’d just guessed? Or maybe it’s just a coincidence, Eva.

It was past 6 PM, and I didn’t know if Alexis was already outside the Cooper’s property waiting for me. At any rate, I was supposed to there already, but thanks to Robert’s appearance I’d been delayed. I grabbed the bag and rushed downstairs. Some maids saw me, but didn’t say anything. I knew they’d complain to Glenda and my aunt, but I couldn’t care less. I was just thankful that I hadn’t found my aunt on my way.

When I walked outside the house, I dashed for the gate. I asked for it to be opened and it was. When I stepped out and looked right, I saw Alexis inside a grey Mercedes. I noticed she was smiling already. I tried to do the same thing, but all that came was a tight-lipped smile. I guess I was starting to feel the pressure weighting down on my shoulders.

“For moments, I thought you hadn’t been able to convince Adam’s father!” Alexis commented, starting the car immediately. “I already thought I had to go there and do something!”

“But then Adam would see you!”

“Oh, Adam’s already waiting for me. I mean, for you.” She glanced, smiling in a puzzling way, and then focused on the road, again. “Anyway, are you ready for what’s waiting you?”

“Honestly... no.” I revealed, feeling my hands shaking already.

“You might think you’re not, but when you see him and you both start talking, you’ll see you are more than ready for this. Before you know it, all of what you wanted to say, has already been said. Don’t fret about it, Eva. You’ll do fine. It might be hard to convince him, but you’ll do it.” Alexis said and, as always, more confident than I will ever be. I just pursed my lips, not wanting to talk about it at all. Alexis was aware of it, and didn’t say anything at all throughout our trip to the city.

I kept looking outside, imagining how Adam would react once he’d see me instead of Alexis. Would he be angry? Would he try to ignore me? I was sure he’d be everything but happy, I guess. Not to mention he’d probably be a wee bit furious at me, since I almost let his father and the others find out we’d been together. I hadn’t done it on purpose, Adam knew it, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t be mad.

The trip to the city took more time that I thought it would. It looked an eternity, but in times like these, it always looked an eternity. When we reached the city, it was almost 7 PM. Alexis drove within it, and at some point, I found myself recognizing those streets and that specific way. It was then when Alexis turned left for the last time that I realized where we were heading for. “Adam’s waiting for me in... in the same hotel we...”

“Yes,” Alexis said when I trailed off. I couldn’t believe it. I was doomed to be there with Adam whenever something happened or was about to happen. I felt even more nervous now, honestly. “He’s waiting for you in this suit.” While parking, Alexis threw me the key to the suite with its number on it.

“Why did you choose this place?” I asked, looking outside the window.

“Where else would you want to do this? I’d happily offer my apartment, but then I wouldn’t have anywhere to sleep.”

I knew it sounded arrogant and selfish, but I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. “Couldn’t you have gone to your parents’ house, Alexis?”

Her blue-green eyes darkened, and for the first time ever, Alexis avoided my eyes. “I’m sorry, Eva, this was the best I could do.” I suddenly felt guilt slithering up my spine. If Alexis hadn’t talked to me in the first place, I wouldn’t even be here. “Anyway, off you go!” She changed so quickly, I really wasn’t sure if Alexis had really looked miserable.

I grabbed my bag and opened the car door. I sighed, but said, “Thanks for everything, Alexis, really.”

“You can thank me later. It’s too early for that, now.” I agreed. We still didn’t know if Adam would accept the challenge. At any rate, I got out of her car. “Good luck, Eva. Don’t ever think about quitting for a moment.” I nodded, trying to smile, but now that I was too close to Adam and the conversation I’d have with him, I couldn’t. I didn’t feel confident enough to do so.

I closed the door and turned around, walking up to the hotel. I didn’t need to go to the reception, because Alexis had already given me the key. So I went straight to the elevator and then walked through the corridor, finally finding the suite Adam was.

This was it. Breathe, Eva, breath, I told myself, if you panic you won’t even be able to start the conversation! And so I forced myself to breath, ignoring the way my hands shook. Just put that key in the damned lock! As if commanded by someone else, I did it mechanically. Next, I propped the door opened and sneaked inside.

But then, when I turned to close the door, I noticed someone was there. My heart stopped. I slowly looked up and froze. Adam was looking down at me with icy blue eyes, slicing me in two, killing me so easily. The way he stared at me, without a word, wearing a stern expression, scared me. I swallowed dryly, not knowing what to say. Adam just hit the door, swinging it open. I stepped back as he walked in, silently, never taking his eyes off me. I felt as if I was in a nightmare, about to be harmed. He slammed shut the door, and finally walked past me.

I allowed myself to breath, only to then listen to his severe tone. “Why did I have the feeling it wouldn’t be Alexis meeting me here?”

I had the audacity to say, “Because, maybe deep down, you wanted to believe it’d be me.” Adam glared at me, but remained silent. He folded his arms over his chest and waited for something. I didn’t know what to say, now. I knew this would happen. “I... I just wanted-”

“When I caught you and Alexis, you’d been talking about this, weren’t you? You’d been planning this all along, hiding it from me.” I nodded, nervously, hoping he wouldn’t yet get out of control. At least not while I hadn’t even started what I’d come here for. “I knew it. I tried to believe you, but I had a feeling.”

“Yet, you decided to come.”

“What more could I do?”

“You could have ignored what Alexis told you.” I mean, I’m sure it was unusual for Alexis to ask Adam to meet her in some hotel, right? “You could have decided not to come, but you did the exact opposite.”

Adam stayed put and didn’t answer. As for me, I placed down the bag and nervously walked past him, and stopped before the glass wall, looking to the city beneath my feet. It wasn’t dark yet, but it was still a nice view.

Behind me, Adam sighed. “Why did you came, Eva?”

Still not turning around, I blurted out, “Isn’t last night a good reason?”

It took him moments to answer, but I waited. I always did wait for him, didn’t I? But right now, I had to be more patient than the usual. Pressuring Adam was something I really shouldn’t do.

At last, though, he spoke. “Last night was only lust.”

If that was supposed to hurt me somehow, it didn’t. How he could he even try to lie about something like that? He’d told me he loved me! Adam thought that would draw me away? Oh, he was so wrong. “You know better than to lie to me or to yourself.”

Adam neither denied it nor affirmed it. I heard his steps around the room, but I controlled the urge to turn around and look at the attractive man. That would weaken me, because then I’d forget about everything I was supposed to tell him. Anyway, the fact that Adam had had the feeling it would be me here instead of Alexis, and yet he’d come, meant something.

“Why did you think I came here, Adam?”

“I don’t know. To tell me I’m a bastard, who cheats on his fiancée with a maid he can’t really forget?”

“I could tell you that, yes, but it isn’t my reason to be here.”

“Then what’s your reason, Eva?” Before I dared to speak up, he added, “I’m sure it isn’t because you want another night with me. You always seem to draw me away whenever we get involved ever since...” He trailed off, and I knew why he hadn’t continued.

Arrogantly, I spoke for him, “Ever since you slept with me and asked Rachel to marry you the very next day? And then still thought I’d want to be near you?” That wound hadn’t yet healed, but maybe all that could really help me to heal was Adam.

“But you do want, kid.” He spoke with that pleading tone. “Otherwise last night wouldn’t have happened. Be honest, Eva. Why did you come?”

Breathing deeply, I had the audacity to turn around and walk up to him. In his face were mixed emotions – anger, hate, need, sadness. Everything but happiness. His icy blue eyes looked down at me, and I couldn’t look away even if I wanted. He waited patiently. Go for it, Eva, that was what Alexis would say if she was here. It’s worth the risk! Fight! And so, I started my fight. “I came here... because I love you. I came here... because I want to fight for you.”

Something showed in his face, and Adam didn’t bother to hide it. Surprise, astonishment, shock. He stared at me like if he’d never seen me before. But then, when he spoke, he turned his back on me, “That’s not going to happen, Eva.”

“Why not?” I questioned him, not nearly surprised with his answer, though. “You said you loved me, Adam! Why can’t you give me a chance with you?”

“Because we can’t!"

“Why not?” I insisted, “Don’t you love me? Or did you just said that so you could-”

“Don’t even dare finish that sentence.” He prompted aggressively, turning around straight away. “You know I’d never fool you.”

“You’re saying you love me, then?” I asked, inciting him to answer me truthfully.

He shook his head, as if forcing himself not to answer my question. He even looked away, but he knew better. He couldn’t lie to me, or about his feelings. Sighing, he admitted, “You know I do, kid...”

“Then how do you know Rachel’s the right choice for you to be with, if you love the both of us?” At that point, I wished he’d say he loved me only, even if he had to be with Rachel.

“She has to be. For everyone’s sake.” He didn’t admit he loved the both of us. He didn’t say he loved her more than he loved me. That gave me a little more strength to continue fighting.

“For everyone’s sake, or for your father’s sake, Adam?” I reached out for his hand, and gazed at him. He hurt me with every denial, but I could still fight. I didn’t want to give up and loose him. Not when everyone believed and told me that I could have a chance with him. Well, everyone but his father and his grandfather, I guess. “I know we could work this out, Adam. I really believe that.”

“How would you work it out, then? How would you resolve everything, knowing everyone’s waiting for you to make the right choice?”

“But is it the right choice for you?” I questioned him, but he didn’t respond. His lips set on a thin line and he pulled his hand away from mine, folding his arms over his chest once more. He was waiting for me to reply to his question. “If you need to know which one you love the more or which you like to be with the most... I’m willing to be with you while you’re with Rachel. I’m willing to do whatever it takes, even sharing you with her, if that’s what it takes for you to choose what you think it’s best for you.” And not no one else, but I didn’t say it. It was useless.

“You’re just making all of this harder to bear. You’ll suffer in the end, Eva, more than you’re suffering, now.” It could be true, yes, but I guess I was used to it now.

“It won’t be worse than regretting that I didn’t even try to fight for you. Tell me, why do you think we can’t?”

“We just... it’s impossible, Eva.” He said faintly, passing past me and approaching a small couch in a corner of that room, in which he sat down. I watched him bury his head in his hands, hiding away from me. Today, he was the one without the guts to face me.

“You don’t know that, Adam.” I said, stepping once towards him. “You haven’t even tried to see if it’s possible. You say you love me, you make love to me, you care about me more than anyone is aware of, but yet you don’t even give us a chance to see if...” I trailed off when Adam looked at me again, his icy blue eyes shining too much. He looked as if he was about to cry, and hell, I wanted to hold him and tell him everything was ok.

“Do you love me that much... that you’re willing to be with me while I’m still with Rachel? You’re willing to share me with her, while I try to find out which of you I love the most?” He looked at me incredulous, as if those words had just struck him, now.

“I think you know who you love the most, Adam... You just think you can’t be with me.” I slowly drew near him, and lifted his face to look up at me. I tried to smile, even if faintly. “I want to be with you, Adam. If sharing you with Rachel for a while is what it takes for you to know who you truly want to be with... Then, I’m all for it.” I’d shared him with Rachel before this situation had worsened, hadn’t I? Sharing Adam with her for just a few more weeks, offering him the chance to choose me later, was nothing. I’d handled worse before, hadn’t I?

“I can’t accept this, kid. I’ll end up hurting you. You’ll be broken-hearted again, and I-”

“My heart is already broken, Adam. You can’t rip it, any more. However... you can mend it.” I pleaded, but Adam said nothing. He just gazed at me, as if begging for something. As if he was pleading for me to finish him and end this. I wanted to end this no more than he did, but... only if Adam chose me. Hell, I needed him to go on! Sighing, I began talking again, “You once asked me why I forced myself to go through all of this, remember? I’d gone to your room, demanding to know why you’d lied to Rachel. I didn’t answer, did I? Well, I want to answer that question, now. I don’t force myself to do this, Adam. I need to do this. I need to fight for you, to know we really don’t have a chance together. I don’t believe you when you say it, because I know you easily break when you’re with me, most of the times. You’re a liar when you say you don’t want to be with me. You’re hurting yourself when you tell me we shouldn’t even do this, because, deep down there, you want me as bad as I want you. I love you, Adam, and I won’t lose to Rachel because I didn’t at least fight.”

I didn’t expect him to say or do something. I could wait. I’d be patient.

Still, Adam did something. He just wrapped his arms around my waistline and leaned his head on my chest. I held onto to him and let him clung to me for as long as he wanted or needed. If he’d been that determined to give me a negative response to my proposal since the very beginning of our conversation, then he wouldn’t have clung to me like that. He wouldn’t have even listened to me in the first place.

“I need you next to me, Adam.” I whispered, leaning down my head on his. “Until you’re mine, I’m not even close to complete... I can’t keep going like this, Adam. Wanting something that’s out of my reach, it’s killing me. I need you.”

After sometime, Adam finally spoke. “If I accept this... proposal, challenge, whatever... how will this work?” He let go of me, and leaned back on the couch. I didn’t move.

“Well... we act like before. We spend time like we did before... before your father’s birthday party happened.” I explained him, “I’ll give you the time you need, but no more than the time I think it’s sufficient, Adam. I don’t... I’ve had enough. I should’ve quitted, but I didn’t. I’m here. I love you. But, despite all of that, don’t think I’ll be always there. A time will come when I’ll ask you who will you chose. You will be honest with me, Adam.” Although I was hurting and suffering inside and out, Adam could see I was determined.

“Those are your conditions?” He asked, as if this was just a mere plan. I nodded, and he just gazed at me, as if thinking about the proposal, now. Then, he narrowed his eyes at me, suddenly suspicious. “This was all Alexis’ idea.” It wasn’t a question.

“How can you tell?” I asked him. He knew we’d talked, but what led him to think this had all been Alexis’ idea?

“You would’ve never come up with something like this. You wouldn’t have the courage for it. And that was why you’ve been with her. To discuss this.” He knew me all too well. However, Alexis hadn’t been the only one to encourage me, even though this had been her idea. His mother, Allison, had also helped me decide.

“You’re right.” I admitted. “I wouldn’t have thought about this, if Alexis hadn’t spoken to me. She... She told me I should take the risk. She said that... all of this would be worth the risk in the end.” Now that I’ve revealed that Alexis had been a part of this, I just hoped he wouldn’t be mad at her, really. I knew that all she cared about was Adam. “You think she’s right?”

“Right about what?”

“About her plan.”

He shrugged, and then rose to his feet. “I think we have to find out, don’t you think?” As soon as he said those words, I sucked in a breath. Was that a positive answer to what I’d come here to propose? He framed my face with his hands, and asked, “I have some weeks with you, is that it? I have the chance to be with you, like we were before my father’s birthday party, right?”

I nodded, suddenly grinning as Adam’s hand slid down my face. However, despite my evident happiness, I warned him. “I just ask one thing of you, Adam. Whenever you know who you really want to be with, even if it’s not me... tell me. Promise. Be honest. Don’t keep me if you don’t want me.” If that was the case, I was now decided to quit working as his maid. Still, I wouldn’t tell him that, because I was sure it’d influence him in some way, and I didn’t want that.

“I promise, kid.” He said, tucking my hair behind my ears. His eyes shone in a different way, now. I bet mine shone just like his. “I don’t deserve you. I really don’t.” No, he didn’t, but that didn’t mean I didn’t want him.

Anyway, I couldn’t believe this had worked. I couldn’t believe Alexis’ plan had worked. Well, I still didn’t know if Adam would really... choose me, but this was a sign, I guess. A sign that he was willing to give us a chance. And for now, I’d be satisfied with that. For now.

“What do we do, now?” He asked, not being able to take his eyes off me. He wasn’t smiling, but I didn’t need to see him smiling to know he was feeling better now, after our conversation.

I shrugged both shoulders, and replied, “Whatever we’d do before your father’s party.” When I said that, Adam’s breathing faltered.

“You mean...”

“I didn’t mean exactly that, but... I guess we could.” Still, none of us moved. Adam just stared at me, with sinful will stamped on his face. He wanted it again. Just like me. I pulled his face down to kiss him, but whispered before, “I love you, Adam.”

However, he didn’t kiss me. Yet. He said, “You’ve turned my life upside down, kid. You changed me. I don’t know what to do, but I do know I want you that bad, right now. I have Rachel, I... think I love her, but you... you have me whenever you want me. I find myself not knowing what to do. I... I’m lost, really.” He revealed, piercing through me with his ice-cold blue eyes. I could feel his breath on my lips, I could feel the heat that emanated from his body, ready to warm mine with the desire we both felt.

“Don’t worry,” I said, confident and smiling, “I’ll help you find your way.”

And then, finally, Adam got rid of the inches that torn our faces apart and kissed me eagerly and insatiably. Before I knew, I was on his arms and he was carrying me to bed, ready to become one with me, as if we hadn’t even been together last night. Well, it didn’t matter. If I could, I’d be with him every night. Well, I would be.

I didn’t care if I’d have to share him with Rachel for some time. It would hurt, I was certain of it, but if that was what it would take for Adam to know who he really loved... then so be it.

I’d be the lover I’d told him I would never be. And I couldn’t care less about it, if that would win me Adam.

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