“Hey, are you okay?” I asked Gideon, closing the door to our bedroom. Gideon was sitting on the bed, his back against the headboard, with a troubled look on his face.
“Yes, I’m fine, thank you,” he replied, but I could tell from the dismal look on his face that he was anything but fine, I wondered what was wrong. He seemed perfectly fine yesterday with Brenton, but today he was acting all quiet and serious.
He’s always quiet and serious, my subconscious stated.
I disagreed. Gideon was quiet and serious, yes, but not like this. And half the time, he laughed and made jokes. Right now, he looked...sad, and that did not sit well with me. Why was he upset? Was it something to do with the person whose death anniversary was coming up? Or was it something else?
Getting on the bed, I crawled over to Gideon and sat facing him. Taking his hand in mind, I gave it a soft squeeze to get his attention. When Gideon looked at me, I knew I had succeeded in getting his attention.
“There is something bothering you, I can feel it,” I said.
“It’s nothing,” Gideon muttered.
“You want to tell me what’s bothering you?” I rubbed my thumb over his hand.
“And why would I want to tell you?” He was acting like that Gideon, the one who called me a whore.
“Because...I am your temporary wife,” I stated.
“Yeah, you are temporary not permanent, if you were my real and permanent wife I might consider telling you, but not now,” he answered.
“So there is something bothering you,” I confirmed.
“If I say yes will you leave me alone?” Wow, whatever was bothering him was serious, Gideon never spoke to me like this in all the time we had been married, which had been about three weeks.
“No, I made a vow in front of God to stay with you during the good and bad times, I don’t plan on going back on my word,” I told him, scooting closer to him, until my face was a few inches away from Gideon’s.
“Yeah, well it’s a fake marriage, so the vows you made don’t matter, get out of here,” he said bluntly.
My heart clenched at hearing his words. He was being so rude, what was the matter. But I wasn’t going to leave. Not only had I made a vow to stick with Gideon through thick and thin in front of God, Gideon was also paying me one million pounds in order to be a good wife to him, and I was going to make his money worth. I would not make Gideon feel as if he had wasted his money on me.
“This marriage might be fake, but the vows I made were real, I’m not leaving you when you are distressed,” I told him firmly.
“Well I guess then you’ll just have to waste your time sitting here because I’m not telling you anything,” he stated, turning his head to look out the window.
Without saying anything I rested my head on Gideon’s chest and wound an around his waist. Gideon might be telling me to leave him alone, but I knew he didn’t want that; or maybe he did, I wasn’t sure because I didn’t know him that well, but whatever it was I wasn’t going to leave him. I knew what it was like being alone, with no one to talk to, no one to hug. I had Nico but he was a kid, and a sick kid. I couldn’t talk to him about my financial problems or any problem for that matter, so I knew how it felt like being utterly alone. And even if Gideon did not tell me what was bothering him, at least he would know that he had me by his side, he wouldn’t feel alone.
“Don’t touch me.” Gideon tried to push me away, but I held on to him.
“You are my husband, I have the right to touch you...for a year I have the right to touch you, you can’t steal my rights away from me when you are the one who gave them to me,” I stated.
“You know, with you blabbering on about this marriage, I’m starting to regret marrying you,” he snapped.
Calm down, it’s not him talking, it’s that negative emotion that’s ruling his mind at the moment that’s saying all sorts of nonsense. He doesn’t mean it, he doesn’t.
“Well, you made a mistake, now you must deal with it,” I teased, trying by best not to get affected by his words.
“Remind me again why I married you?”
“I would love to tell you why you married me, except...you haven’t even told me why you married me, despite me constantly asking you,” I responded, trying my best to stay strong.
“Shut up,” he snapped.
I sighed deeply, trying to maintain my composure. “Gideon, if you can’t tell me what’s bothering you as a wife, then maybe you can tell me what’s wrong as a friend?” I suggested.
Gideon scoffed. “Friend? Do you even know how to be a friend?”
“Yes,” I answered.
“I don’t think so, you never had any friends, how would you know how to be one,” he snarled.
“I know how to be a friend, it’s just I never had time to make friends when I was in high school, but I know how to be a friend,” I told him softly, my head still on his chest and my arm still around his waist.
“Friends know when the other wants to be left alone,” Gideon stated.
“Friends also never leave their friends alone, especially during the bad times,” I argued.
“Friends know when the other doesn’t want to talk,” Gideon said.
“Friends also talk to each other because talking helps,” I countered.
“Friends know when to shut up,” Gideon snapped.
“Friends also know when to push their friends into telling them stuff,” I stated.
“I don’t have friends,” Gideon said.
“I can be your friend. I’ll listen to you without judgment; I’ll try my best to find solutions for your problems; I’ll stay with you no matter what; and when this year ends and the contract is over, and you marry the girl that’s right for you, I’ll be your friend and support you in your decisions; I won’t just be your friend for a year, I’ll be your friend for life,” I told him with utmost sincerity.
“Those are difficult promises you are making, you sure you’d be able to handle it all?” Gideon didn’t know that I had dealt with far worse, but I wasn’t going to tell him that, a good wife never burdened her husband.
“I promise you, Gideon, I would never break these promises,” I told him while looking in his eyes.
“You got a big mouth for someone so small,” Gideon commented.
“Size does not matter,” I countered.
Gideon sighed then fell silent. I put my head back to its original place—on Gideon’s chest. It was okay if Gideon didn’t tell me what had him in such a mood, at least now he knew that he had a friend...me.
“It’s...my mother, it’s her death anniversary next month,” Gideon stated. His voice held so much sadness and despair, I involuntarily tightend my grip on him.
“I’m sorry, Gideon, would you like to talk about it...about her?” I queried.
“She was the most amazing woman I knew.” Gideon’s lips curved in a sad smile. “She had the most beautiful smile and the kindest heart. She tried her best to make sure everyone was smiling, there was never a sad moment when she was around. She made all of us feel like we were her favorite child, but the truth was, she loved us all equally. And when she didn’t smile, I felt as if the sun hadn’t risen,” Gideon told me.
“She sounds like an amazing woman,” I told him truthfully. I imagined a beautiful woman with gorgeous sea green eyes and shiny, golden hair that had the most beautiful curls. In my mind, Gideon’s mother looked like a queen, beautiful and royal.
“Hmm she was, I thought I would never lose her, I thought she would never leave me...but she did.” Gideon murmured the last part.
I rubbed his chest in a soothing manner. “Would you like to tell me what happened to her?” I was not going to force Gideon to tell me something which was already a painful thing for him as it was.
“She...got in an...accident, some years ago.” That was all Gideon said, and I was okay with that.
“I’m sorry to hear that, it must be difficult for you to visit her in the cemetery,” I said.
Gideon nodded looking forlorn. “Yes, I go with my brothers because I don’t have the strength to go there alone, to face her like this.” Gideon eyed the ceiling with bitterness. “You must think what a pathetic, weak man I am; who runs a multinational business yet he can’t even visit his own mother in her grave alone.”
“No, that’s not what I think. I think you are a very strong man, who despite suffering from such a great loss still manages to run such a successful business. If it were someone else instead of you, and loved their mother like you did yours, they would’ve succumbed to depression and their business would have gone down the drain,” I told him.
“Really, you think that?” Gideon questioned, his eyes searching my face for any sign of deceit or fabrication.
“Yes, I really do.” I made sure to convey my sincerity and honesty with my eyes. I raised my head and kissed Gideon’s cheek.
“The thing is...I want to visit her grave, like right now, but I can’t...I can’t find the strength to go and see her right now,” Gideon told me.
“Where is her grave?” I was afraid I might’ve asked a sensitive question, but I was glad I was wrong.
“It’s here, on the estate grounds,” Gideon answered.
“If you want...I can come with you,” I offered.
Gideon gave me a strange look; a look that said that he was unsure whether I actually meant what I said or not. I kissed him in response, assuring him that I meant what I said.
“You’d really go with me?” Gideon asked.
“Yes, I want to meet the woman who raised such a fine man,” I said with a smile.
“She is buried, you can’t exactly see her,” Gideon stated.
“You know what I mean.” I playfully punched his chest.
Gideon chuckled, a sound which had me sighing in relief. Finally, he was smiling, I had made him smile. My heart fluttered in happiness when I saw Gideon smiling.
“Okay, let’s go then,” Gideon stated, detangling himself from me and jumping out of bed.
“Wait, right now?” I looked at the clock to see it was 6:00 in the evening.
“Yes, unless you don’t want to go...” Gideon looked unsure for a moment, but I wasn’t going to disappoint him.
“No, I do, let me get my shoes.” I hopped out of bed and jogged inside the walk-in closet. Grabbing a pair of black slippers, I slipped them on then exited the closet and joined Gideon.
“I’m ready.” Gideon took my hand and led me out of the bedroom towards the cemetery.
I was starting to regret my decision of coming to the cemetery in the evening. I was so excited earlier, but now, all that excitement had well and truly deserted me as thoughts of wandering spirits filled my mind. The cemetery wasn’t exactly my favorite place as my parents were currently residing in a cemetery as well, but I agreed to this because of Gideon and I wanted to meet his mother. If only Gideon had decided to visit his mother in the morning.
It was awfully silent except for the rustling of the leaves; the crickets were quiet as well, which was strange as they were always making noise. The sun had nearly set, casting an orange purple glow. The trees were huge, their foundation solid. Cold breeze was caressing our skin, and I was sure my nose was turning pink.
Gideon was silent next to me, just walking further and further in the forest, his grip on my hand never loosening. I held on to Gideon’s hand tightly, not wanting to let go and get lost in this dark forest.
Finally, after fifteen minutes of walking on muddy, slightly uneven land, we exited the forest and entered what I was sure was the Maslow cemetery. There were hundreds of tombstones, all lined horizontally and going all the way back. All the graves were neat, nothing looked out of place—just white tombstones standing on lush green grass.
Without a word, Gideon took me to the left side of the cemetery. He didn’t stop to introduce me to any of his dead relatives and ancestors, just kept walking straight ahead.
After another ten minutes, Gideon finally stopped in front of a large tombstone. The tombstone was not round at the top but flat, like a rectangle. The ink on the tombstone looked fresh. The words on the tombstone were inscribed with black ink.
Teresa Rose Maslow
Beloved mother and wife
“This is my mother, Teresa,” Gideon said.
“Would you like me to give you some privacy?” I asked.
“Uh, can you stand over there?” Gideon gestured to a space which was five feet away from where we were standing.
“Sure.” I smiled and gave his arm a squeeze. “I’ll be here if you need me.” I went to where Gideon instructed me.
I was glad Gideon didn’t send me far away, I didn’t think I would’ve survived roaming around a cemetery in the dark. Trying not to let my mind worry about the dead bodies surrounding me, I focused my attention on my husband.
Gideon knelt in front of the gravestone, not caring that his pants would get dirty. I felt his lips moving but couldn’t hear what he was saying. Raising his hand, Gideon caressed the ground, a lone tear escaping his eye.
My heart cracked at seeing Gideon like this. The man looked untouchable to the world, and yet here he was, kneeling in front of his mother’s grave, lowering his guard, crying for his mother who was no longer here. Despite what I read about Gideon Maslow being ruthless and savage, I knew that Gideon was nothing like how the world portrayed him. He was kind, he was generous, and most of all...he was human.
After quite some time, Gideon stood up and turned his head to look at me. I gave him a warm, reassuring smile. He held out his hand for me to take, which I did after two seconds of hesitation. Gideon brought me face to face with the gravestone, and when he smiled while looking at the white marble, I felt like I was intruding.
“Mum, this is Alice, my wife,” Gideon said. “She is pregnant, we are going to have a baby soon, I wish you were here to see and hold your grandchildren,” Gideon spoke to the gravestone.
“I’m sure she can see her grandchildren from heaven, and I’m sure our baby would have a guardian angel.” I looked at the gravestone when I said the last part.
However, Gideon’s next words made my heart soar; when he looked at the marble slab and uttered the words I didn’t know I had been longing to hear.
“She is also my friend, my only friend.”