March 3rd, 2002
It’s happening. My worst nightmare is coming true. My father has arranged for me to marry Alejandro in September, 16th September to be precise. I haven’t told him about Henry, but now I think I should. But first, I have to talk to Gideon, he’ll know the best way to approach father.
My father has to agree with mine and Henry’s bond, he has no option but to agree. There is no one I will marry except Henry. I wish my father had asked for my consent, but no, my father was a dominant chauvinist. According to him, women weren’t fit to make life changing decisions, it was a miracle how he let mum make some decisions.
I haven’t even told my mother that I love Henry and want to marry him. Truth be told, I don’t know how she’ll react. Would she understand or will she reject the idea? If my mother would not support me, I don’t know who will. I have to tell my mum, but first I need to tell Gideon, my brother, my best friend.
If my family won’t agree, then I’ll run away with Henry. He already has a decent job and his grandparents left him a small fortune. And if worst comes to pass, I’ll find a job and earn money. Henry and I have already talked about all the possibilities. He will have no problem in eloping, because he just wants to be with me, forever.
I just wish my family understands.
I closed the journal softly before placing it back inside the bigger journal and putting it back on the shelf. After reading another of Elizabeth’s entries, I had a feeling that she would run away, and it wasn’t because she wasn’t here right now—it was the determination in those words that told me.
Walking up to the sixth floor, I glanced at the staircase that would lead to the seventh floor. Maybe I could sneak another trip to the forbidden territory. However, the thought was there only for a second before I dispelled it. I would not go there anymore; I would only go up there when Gideon would allow me. I felt slightly guilty about going up there against Gideon’s wishes, so this time, I would not to give in to curiosity.
With one final glance at the book shelves, I exited the library and went back to my bedroom. As soon as I entered, I was surprised to see Gideon standing there with a smile on his face. He was still dressed in his work attire, but I had no idea what he was doing back home so soon.
“Hello little one, where were you?” Gideon asked, coming to stop in front of me and giving me a tender kiss.
“I was in the library, what are you doing here so soon? I thought you won’t be home until five,” I enquired.
“All my meetings were over and there was nothing else that required my attention, so I thought, why not spend the rest of the day with my wife.” Gideon caressed my cheek with the back of his hand.
Since the night of the charity event two days ago, Gideon had been very sweet to me. More so than in the past. After our little argument in the hotel room, Gideon and I danced the last dance of the evening, and Gideon stayed true to his words about kissing me at the end of the dance and announcing to everyone that I was his wife. I would be lying if I said that the sour look on the women’s faces when Gideon announced that I was his wife didn’t give me a satisfied feeling. I bet the women who were talking shit about me were quite furious at hearing all that, and that made me feel all the better.
“Oh? Well then, how will you like to spend the day?” I asked with a smile.
“Well first, I have to give you something. It took a long time to arrive,” Gideon said, moving towards his nightstand and picking up a book that resembled the family journals in the archives.
“Your journal is here.” Gideon handed me the thick journal.
“Wow, it’s kind of heavy. How many pages does this have?” I enquired. According to Brenton, I was supposed to get the small journal since I would only be here for a year, but this journal was big, like I was going to be Gideon’s wife forever.
“It has exactly one thousand pages,” Gideon replied.
“Why one thousand? The year only has three hundred and sixty five days.” I ran my hand over the paper, feeling the smoothness. I could tell the paper used in the journal was expensive.
“Just because,” he responded.
“The rest of the journal will go to waste, are you sure you want me to follow this family tradition of yours?” I really liked the journal, and wouldn’t mind keeping it as my secret diary.
“Yes.” Gideon came close to me. “Because you’re my family now, and this baby.” He put a hand on my tummy. “Is also a part of it. Both of you are now Maslows, so you must follow the Maslow tradition.”
His words left me stunned. Did Gideon just imply that I would be his wife forever? But he couldn’t have meant it, I mean, we signed a contract, so he must know that this marriage would end in less than a year. But then, why did his words felt like as if he was talking about a forever and not just a few months?
“Okay, I’ll write, but you won’t be allowed to read it.” I told him.
“Don’t worry, little peach, your journal is your own property. No one will read it except for you, it’s all yours. By the way, tomorrow we have another doctor’s appointment, you’ll get an ultrasound, so be ready at ten,” Gideon informed me.
I placed the journal on the bed and flopped down on the mattress. The third month was coming to pass, leaving only nine months until my marriage was over. To some people, nine months might seem like a lot of time, but not me. For me, nine months were equal to nine weeks, and I still needed a proper job and an apartment. Maybe in a few days I would start looking for an apartment.
“So what do you want to do?” Gideon questioned, coming to sit beside me. He had changed out of his work attire and was now wearing an orange shirt with blue jeans.
“Whatever you want,” I replied, hopefully he would not want to have sex, last night left me sore. But what I really wanted was for Gideon to tell me about Elizabeth and what happened to her. Was she even alive?
“Have you ever ridden on a horse?” He enquired.
“No, but I always wanted to,” I answered.
“Great, then that’s what we’ll do.” Without waiting for me to respond, Gideon took my hand led me out of the castle.
“Where are we going?” I queried, walking beside him.
“Horseback riding,” he replied.
“Okay, but where are we going to get a horse from?” I enquired, enjoying the carefree way Gideon was behaving. I had seen his carefree side but not like this, it was like he had no worries.
“Oh little dove, don’t you know by now, there is nothing I do not own.” Taking my hand once again, Gideon started to run in the direction of God knew what.
“Gideon slow down.” I giggled, enjoying the feeling of the wind caressing my face. This place was strange; these grounds were strange. Whenever I had come here, it was like all my worries took a back seat and I was left with nothing but peace and happiness.
“I’ll slow down when we’ll reach,” he responded.
No sooner had the question left my mouth that I saw a huge wooden building. It was ginormous, with plenty of room for horses, which were poking their heads out of their stables and munching on hay. Never in my life had I seen so many horses in one place, with so many different colors and sizes.
“You have your own stables?” I asked while staring at the grand structure in awe.
“Yes, come on, I’ll introduce you to all the horses.” Gideon led me all the way to the corner and stopped in front of a brown horse. The horse was big and had its head buried in a pile of hay.
“This is Nutcracker, he belongs to my uncle Fred, say hello.” Gideon introduced me to Nutcracker.
“Hello Nutcracker,” I said hesitantly.
“He’s the last horse from my father’s generation. Uncle Fred is the youngest, so his horse is the last one of his generation,” Gideon informed me.
“Where is your horse?” I asked.
“Oh he’s over here.” We skipped the horse which was next to Nutcracker and moved on to the next one.
“This is my horse. I have other horses, but this was my first horse, I got him at the age of seven, his name is Thunder.” The horse was black and huge.
“Wow, he’s magnificent,” I commented, my hand itching to run over the smooth black coat.
“Thank you. He came straight from Arab, and is the best of his kind. Go on, touch him,” Gideon urged.
Slowly, I raised my hand and glided it over the horse’s smooth, shiny coat. I was glad when the horse didn’t attack me. He really was magnificent, just like his owner.
“Why did you name him Thunder?” I enquired.
“You haven’t seen the speed and power with which he runs with. He’s incredibly fast and strong, Kieran suggested the name Thunder for him, and I agreed,” Gideon answered, patting the horse with affection.
I was about to touch Thunder once again when my eyes landed on another horse, the one we had skipped. It was the most beautiful horse I had ever seen. Gideon’s horse was magnificent, but that horse was simply beautiful.
It was considerably smaller than Gideon’s horse. While Gideon’s horse had a beautiful, shiny, black coat, that horse had a white coat. It looked innocent and beautiful.
“Whose horse is that?” I questioned, pointed at the horse.
Gideon’s expression went from happy to guarded as he eyed the horse I was pointing at. Where he was smiling, now he was frowning. Gideon’s expression gave me an idea about who that horse belonged to.
“That is Pearl. She belongs to a family member,” Gideon replied.
“Who?” I asked, wondering if I was pushing my luck.
Gideon walked over to Pearl and ran an affectionate hand over her. “She belongs to my best friend,” he stated, sadness flashing in his eyes.
“Will you tell me about her?” I enquired, looking at the beautiful horse.
“Maybe, but not right now. Tell me which horse do you want to ride on?” Gideon asked me, the smile back on his face.
“I like Thunder, can we ride on him?” I enquired, marching over to stand in front of Thunder. For now, I wouldn’t pester Gideon into telling me about Elizabeth, he’d tell me in his own time.
“Sure, let me just get him ready. Why don’t you go and grab the helmets from there?” Gideon pointed at small cabin next to the stables.
I quickly went to the cabin and looked inside with wonder as I gazed at the various riding gears. I wanted to stay and look around but I knew Gideon wanted me back as soon as possible, otherwise he would think I couldn’t handle the simple task of finding a couple of helmets.
Grabbing two helmets from the shelf, I exited the cabin and jogged back to Gideon who was standing next to Thunder. The horse was now wearing a saddle and looked ready to go.
“Are these okay?” I held up the helmets to Gideon.
“Perfect.” Taking one of the helmets, Gideon put it over my head and tied the buckle under my chin. Then he took his own helmet and tied it.
“Ready?” Gideon asked holding out his hand for me to take.
With anticipation and excitement coursing through my veins, I took Gideon’s hand. He carefully lifted me up; I quickly shifted one leg over the horse and in a few seconds was sitting on the saddle. I wanted to hook my feet in that little space reserved for feet but my legs were too small.
Gideon climbed in behind me and gave me the reins. “You all right, little peach?” He asked, wrapping his arms around me.
“Yes, this feels nice. I think this horse is a little too big for me,” I stated.
“Yes he is, soon I’ll buy a horse for you along with the riding gear in your size; you need a proper gear for horseback riding. Are you ready to go?” Gideon gave the reins in my hands a gentle tug and the horse started moving; my heart jumped slightly at the sudden movement.
“You don’t have to buy me a horse, it’s not like I’ll ride it much,” I said, the horse continued forward.
“Don’t be silly, I’ll buy you a horse,” Gideon stated. He clearly had a lot of money to throw away at useless things.
The horse continued moving at a slow pace, while the wind rustled the trees and blew my hair. It was perfect. I never thought I would ever get a chance to ride on a horse, but Gideon had once again fulfilled my wish. He truly was amazing.
You can’t love him. My subconscious stated.
Too late. I’m already in love with him.
We made small talk as the horse walked around the garden. Nothing could compare to the peace and bliss that I was feeling at that very moment.
Suddenly, our peaceful time was shattered by the sound of Gideon’s cell phone. He quickly fished it out of his pocket and with a frown accepted the call.
It was silence as Gideon listened to the person on the other line. “Uh huh—Is she all right? —Yes—All right—I’ll be there as soon as possible.” Gideon hung up and slipped his cell phone back in his pocket.
“Is everything okay?” I asked Gideon.
“I have to go, something important came up. I’m really sorry, little dove, we’ll go riding another time, okay?” He quickly led the horse back to the stables, before getting off the horse and carefully pulling me down.
“It’s okay, but will you tell me what happened?” I enquired.
“A—Friend of mine fell ill, so I have to go see her.” Gideon replied, guiding the horse back inside the stables.
“Oh, can I come with you?” I wanted to make sure his friend was all right.
“No that’s all right, little fairy, I’ll go alone. She freaks out when she sees new people, so that’s why it’ll be better if you don’t come with me,” Gideon responded, leading me back to the castle.
“Okay, I hope she’s okay. When will you come back?” I asked as I watched Gideon grabbing his car keys and his wallet.
“I’ll be back in a few hours. If you need anything, call me immediately, okay?” He jogged down the stairs with me following behind. It looked as if his friend was in some serious danger the way he was running about.
“Yes, no problem, take care,” I said.
Giving me quick peck on the lips, Gideon exited through the front door. “See you later.”
Wow, I wondered who his friend was. I wished Gideon would start opening up to me and telling me everything that bothered him. With a final glance at Gideon’s car driving away, I went inside, a hundred question swimming in my mind.