The beautiful restaurant was a place I thought I would never visit in my entire life, but thanks to Gideon, I was now here, having dinner in one of the most prestigious restaurants in all of London. It was like Gideon was my own personal genie, fulfilling my wishes and desires with just a snap of his fingers.
Gideon came precisely at seven o’ clock. I had worn the blue dress Gideon got for me and was brushing my hair when he entered our room and gave me a swift kiss on the lips. He then turned and headed to the bathroom, telling me he would be out in fifteen minutes then we would go out for dinner.
Even though I did not want to go, because I wanted to read the diary of Elizabeth Julia Maslow, I couldn’t refuse Gideon. So I did not touch the diary after I had put it back in its place. I would read it tomorrow, and find out who the woman was. However, my overly curious nature wanted me to skip dinner and read the diary.
When the maître d’ opened the door for us, my eyes widened and my jaw dropped as I took in the opulence of the restaurant. The tables were set to perfection; the waiters were efficiently working around; the lights reflecting against the chandeliers have the restaurant a luxurious feel. It was perfect. It was so not me.
The restaurant was for the rich and successful, not a poor woman like me who was only going to be rich for the next nine months. I did not deserve to sit in one of the comfortable, cushioned chairs; I belonged with the staff, waiting on people, making sure the orders were taken to the right tables. Maybe I was lower the waiting staff; I belonged with the maids, who cleaned up after the chefs.
I wondered how much salary these people got. I needed a job after all, maybe I could work here. Would they even hire a high school graduate? I wasn’t sure, but I had the feeling the pay was good. I might apply for a waitress job here, however, the chances of me getting hired were slim to none.
“What are you looking around for?” Gideon asked me. We had given our orders to the waiter a few minutes ago. I tried to order to the cheapest thing on the menu, which was water, but Gideon shook his head and ordered for me.
“This place is so nice, thank you for bringing me here,” I said, looking around again, trying to soak in everything all at once.
“You don’t have to thank me, and you better get used to living like the rich and famous, I’ll be taking you to a lot of high end places,” Gideon stated with a soft smile. I loved Gideon’s smile, it was so beautiful and so genuine.
“I still want to thank you; you’ve done a lot for me.” I eyed the waiters dressed in crisp white shirts and black slacks. “How much do these waiters get, as a salary, I mean?” I asked Gideon.
Gideon frowned before asking, “Why are you asking this?”
“Oh, because I need to find a job. Now that Nico is all well, I need money for his education and stuff, I have to send him to medical school after all, fifty thousand pounds won’t last forever.” I told him.
The frown on Gideon’s forehead deepened. “Fifty thousand? You mean five hundred thousand, right, little dove?”
Now it was my turn to frown at him. “Five hundred thousand?”
“Yeah, I’m giving you a million pounds, I have already given you five hundred thousand and you’ll get the remaining five hundred thousand at the end of the year,” he replied with an amused smile.
“Wait, you mean, I currently have five hundred thousand pounds! Shoot, I thought I had fifty, well thirty after Nico’s surgery; damn it, why I can’t be good at math?!” I couldn’t believe it. I thought I only had fifty thousand pounds, I couldn’t believe I had four hundred and eighty thousand pounds right now, and I would get more later.
Gideon laughed light heartedly before giving my hand a soft squeeze. “Trust me, you don’t need to get a job, you have more than enough money, little fairy,” he said.
“No, not at all. I have to buy new clothes for Nico, he’s growing up fast, not to mention food and money for the bills. And once the baby comes, I will have to buy clothes and food for the baby, trust me I need to get a job,” I replied with conviction.
“The baby is mine, too, and I will pay for food and clothes and other necessities, I’m telling you, you don’t need a job,” he responded, his lips set in a hard line.
“You might pay for the baby, but I will pay for my brother’s wants and needs,” I responded.
“No, you’re not, I’ll pay for Nico’s education and clothes and anything else he might want or need, the money is for you. Go shopping with Jenny, by clothes and shoes for yourself,” Gideon stated.
“No, I cannot throw away the money on myself. I have to think of the baby and my brother. Plus, it might be your baby too but I will still buy clothes and food for him or her, you will not be the sole provider for the baby. I just need to find a lucrative job,” I replied.
“We’ll see,” Gideon muttered before giving my hand another squeezes and falling silent.
After fifteen minutes, the server arrived carrying our food. After carefully placing the plates in front of us, he gave a short bow and left. Gideon and I wasted little time before digging in. When the first morsel of my meal touched my lips, I had to physically stop myself from moaning out loud. The food was delicious. Never in my life had I tasted something so delicious, so amazing. Now I knew why everything on the menu was so expensive; it took quite a lot of hard work to create something so unique and perfect.
Once I cleaned my plate of everything, Gideon ordered dessert, despite my refusal. When I asked him why he ordered dessert when I clearly told him not to, he simple said that he wanted me to have the full experience and the full experience could not be complete without dessert. I thought I fell a little more for my temporary husband after that.
“Did you finish all your homework last night?” I asked Nico who was busy eating his sandwich.
Giving me a nod, Nico swallowed before saying, “Yes, I finished my homework before going to bed. I have an English test today.” He told me.
“Did you study for it?” I enquired, knowing that he had studied.
“Yes, I’m fully prepared,” he answered with a grin.
I chuckled before grabbing a slice of bread and spreading jelly on it for Gideon. He was going to come down any minute now and I needed to make sure his breakfast was ready.
Just as I placed the sandwich on the plate, Gideon entered the dining room, looking handsome as always. Sometimes I wondered if there was any time that Gideon did not look so sexy and mouthwatering. My subconscious replied with a firm ‘never’ before falling silent.
“Mrs. Maslow, Mr. Nico’s bus is here,” Sally informed us.
Nico quickly grabbed his bag, bidding me a hasty goodbye, he jogged out of the dining room, leaving just me and Gideon.
Gideon took me by surprise when he dipped his head and captured my lips in a searing kiss. The kiss had me melting in Gideon’s arms, but he did not relent, but after a few minutes. Once Gideon released my lips, I found a bit difficult to gain my bearings, the kiss had taken me to another place altogether.
“Wh—what was that for?” I asked breathless, trying to recover from the kiss.
“A good morning kiss,” Gideon replied, before leaning down and giving me another tender kiss.
“Wow, okay.” I had no idea what I was saying, Gideon knew how to mess with me.
“Be good, and be safe; and if you need anything, don’t hesitate to call me, okay?” He said.
I nodded. “Have some breakfast.” I stepped aside to let Gideon sit in his chair.
“Not today, I have to be at work in twenty minutes, so I’m gonna have to skip breakfast,” Gideon informed me.
“You can take it on the go, I’ll tell Helga to pack it up for you.” I turned to leave but Gideon stopped me.
“Little peach, it’s okay, skipping breakfast one day won’t kill me. Now I have to go, you be good, okay?” Gideon kissed my forehead.
“Okay, have a good day.” I smiled at my husband, who gave me another kiss before exiting the dining room.
Once Gideon left for work, I made sure none of the maids required anything from me before jogging upstairs to the library. It was time to read and find out who was Elizabeth Julia Maslow.
The familiar dusty aisles of the archives greeted me as soon as I entered. This time I did not spend hours looking for one thing or the other, I knew what I was here for and I knew where it was.
Taking the portable steps, I placed them on the floor and climbed on top reach the top shelf of Teresa Maslow. Grabbing the thick journal with the glued pages, I carefully pulled it out. Stepping down, I flopped down on the orange beanbag and opened the journal. Carefully removing the blue, velvet bound journal, I flipped the faux journal closed and opened Elizabeth’s journal.
Diary of Elizabeth Julia Maslow
Turning the page, I got the answer to the mystery that had plagued my mind since that day I had ventured up to the seventh floor. There, sitting like a princess, was the younger version of the woman in the portrait, and now I knew her name; Elizabeth Julia Maslow. She was no longer Lily, but Elizabeth now.
She was dressed in a maroon gown. Since the photo was taken when she was sitting, I could only see the top half of her dress, and it looked awfully expensive. Dark crystals were embedded in the dark colored corset. The sleeves were long and were slightly puffy at the shoulders. To finish of her look, she was wearing a beautiful maroon hat with feathers and flowers.
Elizabeth looked to be about seventeen in the photograph. Her skin looked soft, she looked innocent. There were no harsh wrinkles on her face, and she did not look like a queen like she did in that portrait on the seventh floor; she looked like a princess.
Flipping to the next page, I saw the first entry. Taking a deep breath, I started reading the feminine scrawl of Elizabeth.
January 1st, 2002
Another year has come and gone, but my love for Henry has not wavered. In fact, I think I am more in love with my him now then I have ever been. Not only is he the most handsome and charming man in all of London, he truly loves me, and I know he wants to marry me.
I’m afraid to tell my father about Henry. Mainly because he has already started to look for a suitable groom for me. But I will not marry anyone except for Henry, and my father should understand that.
I continued reading. Elizabeth mainly talked about Henry and the love she had for her boyfriend. She also wrote how they were planning to meet in secret at 10:00 pm on New Year’s Eve. Her diary was like a romance novel, and I could tell she was hopelessly in love just by reading and eyeing the hearts on top of the i’s.
However, I got a real shock when I turned to read the second entry. I couldn’t believe that I had been lied to; that not only Gideon but his whole family had hidden such a big secret.
January 2nd, 2002
I want to do it. I want to tell my family about Henry, but I’m afraid. What if they do not approve of our relationship? What if father does not agree to the match? What if they lock me up in this gargantuan palace and forbid me to see Henry ever again? What if they kill Henry?
No, I cannot tell them. I will never tell them. I cannot risk Henry’s life. But I have to do something. Because if I don’t do anything, Henry and I can never be together. And I refuse to live a life without Henry.
Last night, after I sneaked back in my room during the dark hours of the night, I quickly changed my clothes and got ready for bed. But, Lynn, my maid had come in my room and told me that father wanted to see me. I was afraid because I thought he had found out that I had snuck out to meet Henry. However, I could not refuse my father’s call, so I had gone downstairs, my mind filled with anticipation.
Once I entered the living room, I was confused when I saw that not only my whole family was present but also the neighbor’s family. Alejandro, the neighbor’s son was sitting, smiling at me.
When my father saw me he beckoned me over with a smile on his face. Confused, I went to him and sat down next to him. My mind was full of questions, but they all were answered when my father told me that Alejandro and I were going to be married in July.
I couldn’t believe it. My father had arranged for me to marry my neighbor and childhood friend, Alejandro. He didn’t even ask me if I was okay with this, he just agreed without my consent. How could he do this?! Was I not human?! Did I not have any rights in regards to my future?! How could my father just take it upon himself to make decisions about my marriage?
After that, I all but ran out of the living room. I came back in my room and cried myself to sleep. I know I could never be happy with Alejandro. He was a nice man, and I knew he would do his best to keep me happy, but I love Henry, and I can never be happy with anyone else but him.
Maybe I’ll talk to Gideon, he might know what to do. He was my brother and my best friend. Though he was younger than me, he and I were extremely close. Maybe he can talk to father regarding mine and Henry’s marriage. If Gideon did not help me, then I will have no choice but to do something drastic; because come hell or high waters, I will only marry Henry.
The journal shut on its own as I processed the new piece of information. Gideon had a sister?! He had another sibling and he never told me. Well I understood that I was his temporary wife, and not exactly part of the family, but still he could’ve told me they he had another sibling, a sister in fact. So Teresa’s first child was actually a girl. She had succeeded in breaking the family curse.
I placed the journal back in the journal and put it back on the shelf. I had done enough reading for one day. Now I had to go up there; up to the seventh floor. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I had to go up there.
As soon as I reached the sixth floor, I marched up to the seventh floor which was the third floor of the library. I had a hunch that I might be able to enter the seventh floor through the library, I prayed that the library doors were not locked from the outside.
Once I reached the third floor of the library, I did not bother looking around, I headed straight for the giant double doors. Turning the key, which was already present in the lock, I turned the knob and prayed that the door would open.
My heart stopped for a second as the door opened smoothly. I couldn’t believe it, I could now survey the mysteries of the seventh floor without anyone knowing. With a ridiculous grin plastered on my face, I opened the door and stepped outside.
I was now on the seventh floor.