Gideon’s sudden departure left me with nothing to do but think. As far as I knew Gideon did not have any friends, then why did he say that the white horse belonged to his best friend and that his friend had fallen ill. If he already had a best friend, why did he tell his mum that I was his only friend?
My train of thoughts was halted when I saw a familiar face. Jenny slowly entered the living room looking unsure. I smiled at her before hugging her.
“Hey, I didn’t know you were coming here,” I said.
“I didn’t know I was coming here until Kieran dropped me off in front of the entrance doors. He said something about a friend falling ill and needed to go and check on her,” she responded, a puzzled expression crossing her face.
I raised my eyebrows when I heard Jenny telling me that Kieran had used the exact same words that Gideon had. “Wow, it’s strange isn’t it. Both of them needing to go to see their friend.” I knew there was something Gideon was not telling me about this friend of his.
“I think Brenton is gone, as well,” Jenny stated, sitting down on the sofa.
“Do you think that Mr. Maslow is gone, too?” I enquired, sitting down next to her.
Jenny scoffed. “Mr. Maslow, caring for anybody other than his family? I don’t think so,” she said bitterly.
“What do you mean?” Had something happened between Gideon’s father and Jenny?
“Tell me something, Alice, how is Mr. Maslow with you? I mean, how does he behave?” She queried.
“To be honest, the man has barely said ten words to me since Gideon and I got married, and that was only to put me in my place and to threaten me into marrying Gideon,” I answered.
Jenny’s eyes widened. “What? You were forced into this marriage?” Uh oh, I couldn’t believe I let that slip, shoot!
“Uh, I wasn’t exactly forced, but this marriage was arranged.” I told her. I couldn’t tell her about the contract, it would break the clause of keeping the arrangement between me and Gideon a secret.
“Really, I didn’t know your marriage was arranged, it doesn’t look like it,” she uttered.
“Why?” I questioned.
“Because Gideon loves you, and you love him, so I just figured you both married out of love,” she explained.
“What? What are you talking about? Gideon and I don’t love each other.” By now I could feel my cheeks heating up. Jenny was right about one thing, I did love Gideon, a lot, but he didn’t feel the same way.
“I’ve seen the way he looks at you, like you’re the reason he gets up every morning and goes to sleep every night, and like you’re the reason he smiles. And I know you love him, I saw the way you looked at him when I visited you guys at the hospital after Nico’s surgery,” she argued.
I shook my head, not believing her. “Gideon does not love me, he never will,” I muttered the last part to myself.
“But you love him, right?” Jenny searched my eyes for the truth.
Nodding my head, I told her the truth. “Yeah, I love him. He’s perfect, Jenny,” I confessed.
“Gideon loves you, trust me on that.” She gave my hand a warm, comforting squeeze.
Shaking my head, I gave her a warm smile. “All right, enough about me and Gideon, tell me about Kieran and how he’s with you,” I demanded.
Jenny blushed and a strange sparkle lit her eyes at the mention of Kieran. “He’s...intense,” she answered.
“Oh, tell me all about it.” I never knew talking to another girl about men would be so entertaining, no wonder women talked about men with their friends.
“Well, like I said, he’s intense; if I don’t do as he says then I have to deal with the consequences. And those consequences scare me.” Jenny begun wringing her hands together, looking nervous.
I scooted closer to Jenny. “Why do they scare you?” I asked softly, trying not to scare her.
Jenny took a deep breath. “Okay, what I’m about to tell you, can you like...keep it between us, it’s about Kieran and I don’t want people to know.”
“Of course, your secret is safe with me,” I assured her.
“Well Kieran has these preferences when it comes to sex.” Jenny blushed a bright red. “He likes to be in charge,” she said cryptically.
“Be in charge how?” I enquired.
“Well, he likes his women subdued, under his mercy,” she responded, the blush not leaving her face.
Realization dawned on me. “You mean; he likes to tie women up?”
Jenny nodded. “Yes, he likes taking control of a woman, he likes to own his women in bed,” she answered.
Kieran just kept surprising me. Where I thought he was laid back and mischievous, he was now intense and kinky. Were there more surprises which were yet to come?
“So, is that a good thing or a bad thing?” I queried.
“Bad. Very bad. But I can’t tell Kieran about it,” Jenny replied softly.
“So you allow Kieran to tie you up even when you’re not comfortable with it?” She needed to stand up for herself. I was sure once Kieran knew that Jenny was uncomfortable, he wouldn’t tie her up.
Jenny shook her head. “No, we haven’t had sex.” She told me.
“How long have you two been dating?” I questioned.
“Nearly six months,” she answered.
“And you haven’t had sex until now?” I felt my eyes were going to pop out of their sockets.
“Believe me Kieran has tried a hundred times to get me in bed, but I always make up an excuse and get out of having to have sex. I don’t think Kieran is going to wait for me much longer, I’m surprised he has waited this long.” She told me.
“Just tell him you’re not comfortable with it,” I stated.
“I can’t do that, Alice. Kieran has done so much for me, and how would he feel if I told him I couldn’t handle being tied up.” Jenny looked utterly distraught.
“If he likes you and cares about you he’ll understand. And maybe, in the future you can try his way of having sex.”
Jenny shook her head, her eyes glittering with unshed tears. “No, I can never let Kieran tie me up. There are things that happened to me in the past; things that shackle me, my happiness. These things prevent me from moving forward, from embracing Kieran and his needs...”
“Maybe you can talk to Kieran about it, explain why you can’t handle his needs,” I suggested. Wow, Jenny looked so innocent, I didn’t know that she had gone through so much. I wished I could do something to help her.
“If I tell him, I’ll lose him forever, and I don’t want to lose him, Alice. I like Kieran, a lot; he makes me happy, he makes me feel important; and him and his happiness is important to me.” A lone tear fell from her eyes.
“Like I said, if he cares about you he’ll understand. And if he likes you as much as I think he does, I’m sure that your comfort and happiness is more important to Kieran than his own needs,” I stated.
“I wish I wasn’t so weak. I wish I was strong enough to forget my past and move on,” Jenny muttered.
“You are strong.” I told her with conviction.
Jenny shook her head. “No I’m not. And because of this, I’m going to lose Kieran. I know sooner or later he is going to tell me that he can’t be with me, and I understand that; Kieran is not going to wait for me forever. Maybe then he’ll find a woman who is not a skittish freak like me.” She quickly wiped the tears with her hand.
“You’re wrong. Kieran is not like that, and I’m pretty sure he’ll understand if you just tell him,” I stated.
“I don’t believe you.” Jenny took a deep breath. “But anyways, what are we going to do until Gideon and Kieran arrive?” She asked, changing the subject.
“We can watch a film while eating snacks?” I suggested.
“Perfect, do you want to pick the film?” She queried.
“No, that’s all right, you pick, I’ll go tell the maids to bring us some snacks.” Leaving Jenny to search for films, I headed to the kitchen for some snacks.
A week had passed since Gideon’s friend had fallen ill, and Gideon had made no move to tell me who that friend was. I wasn’t going to ask him, I hoped he would tell me himself.
The day after Gideon’s hasty departure, was the day for my doctor’s appointment. Gideon and I went to the gynecologist who told us that the baby was fine—after giving me an ultrasound—and that we’d know the sex of the baby next month. Gideon hearing this told me that he already knew it was the boy—because of the family curse—but I did not believe him. There was only a fifty percent chance the baby would be a boy, and like Gideon’s mum, I too wanted to break the family curse by having a girl as my firstborn.
After my ultrasound, Gideon returned to being the caring, doting husband, only in a stronger, more intense way. Not to mention, that he would have to get up during the late hours of the night and get me tacos and salsa. Every night, I would have this craving of eating something spicy, mainly salsa, so Gideon would get me a huge bowl of salsa and nachos, and I would spend an hour or two eating that. I knew these late night visits to the kitchen were taking a toll on Gideon, but he never once complained. He just made sure that I was comfortable.
Since that day, Jenny and I had become close friends, and even talked on the phone. Gideon said that it was good that Jenny and I were getting along, and even told me that I should take the time out and go shopping with her. I still needed to buy clothes and toys for the baby, so going shopping with Jenny sounded like a good idea.
Today was the start of a new week and after being thoroughly rested, Gideon went to work. He had spent the weekend sleeping in, my crazy midnight snack schedule preventing him from sleeping peacefully. And he still hadn’t told me about the friend of his; in fact, he hadn’t talked about that day at all. He just asked me how I was doing and how the baby was. I knew being so curious about my temporary husband’s life and family was not right, but I couldn’t help it. My mum did say that one day this curiosity of mine would get me in trouble.
Once Gideon and Nico left, I made my way to the library, wanting to read more about Elizabeth. Maybe I would skip to the entry where she would tell Gideon about Henry or maybe to the part where she would run away with the love of her life.
As soon as I entered the library, the familiar smell of books greeted me. I loved the smell of books, both new and old; I wished I could sleep with a book so the smell of it would stay with me even in my sleep.
Padding downstairs, I entered the archives and immediately headed in the direction of Teresa’s aisle. I decided that once I was finished reading Elizabeth’s journal, I would read Teresa’s journals and then slowly work my way through the ancestors of the Maslow family. These people were just too interesting.
Climbing on the portable steps, I removed Elizabeth’s journal and sat down on the bean bag to read. The entry I started to read was dated June 4th, 2002.
June 4th, 2002
I told Gideon about Henry last night, and he was not happy. He said that going against father’s wishes would be similar to committing suicide. I begged him to help me. I told him that I would never be happy with Alejandro.
Gideon being my best friend and brother would never want me to be unhappy, so even though he was not happy about this, he promised to help me to the best of his ability. He told me he would talk to our father and would try to convince him about calling off the wedding. Bless my brother, he always helped me.
However, father agreeing to Gideon is going to be next to impossible. My father is stubborn and when he says something, it’s like set in stone, no one has the power to question or change it. I just hope that Gideon gets through to him, otherwise I would have no choice but to run away with Henry.
Henry called me a couple of hours ago. He told me he loves me and can’t wait to marry me. His words gave me the happiness and comfort they always did, and made me forget about my father and his unfair decisions. I told Henry I love him, too, and I would do everything in my power to make sure we were together.
Slowly, I have started packing my clothes in a duffle bag. If I ran away, I would only be able to take my necessities with me, I would have to leave my jewelry and all my couture dresses here, and only take my practical clothes. No matter what happened, I have no choice but to prepare for the worst.
I hope everything worked out for the best.
After finishing the first entry, I flipped the journal until I stopped at the entry dated July 1st, 2002. I took a deep breath and begun reading. This entry mainly consisted of Elizabeth being a nervous wreck because Gideon was going to talk to their father about Henry. She prayed that her father agreed to marry her with Henry rather than with Alejandro, although she wasn’t very hopeful. She now had two duffle bags which contained all of her important things.
I was almost at the end of the entry when a sudden voice startled me. “Wow, I didn’t know that my wife was the female version of Sherlock Holmes,” Gideon said, his voice hard.
Jumping from the bean bag, I hid Elizabeth’s journal behind me but I knew Gideon had already seen me with it. My heart started pounding as I gazed at my husband, who stood leaning against the wooden shelf with his arms crossed across his chest. His sea green eyes were hard, betraying his calm exterior. Knowing that I was busted, I couldn’t do anything, my mouth suddenly felt dry as fear settled in my tummy, and all I did was say one word.