Morning came quickly and I did not see Gideon. He did not come to bed last night. I was right, he did not want to sleep next to me. But I didn’t sleep on the bed, I slept on the couch, well more like tossed and turned, the shame and guilt prevented me from getting any sleep.
Dragging myself to the bathroom, I washed my face with cold water to make myself presentable. After staring at my reflection in the mirror for a couple of minutes, I dragged myself out of the bathroom only to stop short when I saw Gideon standing in our room. He looked freshly showered, his hair was still glistening with the leftover water. I, on the other hand, looked like a total mess.
“You didn’t sleep.” Gideon said it as more of a statement rather than a question.
“I did, just not much,” I lied. I didn’t sleep a wink.
Without a word, Gideon turned and sat down on the bed. My eyes widened when Gideon picked up my journal which was lying on the bed and opened it. My heart started pounding, Gideon could not read my journal.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“What does it look like I’m doing, I’m reading your journal,” Gideon replied shortly.
“You can’t do that. You said my journal was my own personal property and that no one will be allowed to read it,” I told him.
Gideon raised his eyebrows. “Oh, so you remember this, but you don’t remember me telling you to stay away from the archives, interesting,” he commented, but thankfully did not flip to my first entry.
Angry tears pricked my eyes. “You didn’t specifically tell me to stay away. You said the archives wouldn’t be of any interest to me,” I clarified.
“Learn to read between the lines, Alice. Me telling you the archives will bore you meant that you were to stay away from them,” he shot back.
“Gideon, please, my journal is personal.” I tried again.
“No. Since you love to snoop in other people’s business and invade their privacy, let’s see how you like it when somebody invades your privacy,” he retorted. Gideon’s words caused my heart to crack. I knew I deserved every harsh word Gideon said to me, but that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt.
“Fine, go ahead. Read my journal, unlike you I’ve got nothing to hide,” I snapped then went for the door. I should start packing my clothes, Gideon was going to kick me out soon.
“Where do you think you’re going?” He asked.
“To my brother’s room. I am allowed to go there, aren’t I, or will that be another invasion of your precious privacy!” I slammed the door shut on my way out. I knew I had no right to be angry at Gideon when it was my fault that he was upset, but I just couldn’t help my crazy emotions. And the truth was, I couldn’t stand and see Gideon read my journal. I know he was going to laugh after reading it, and I couldn’t see that—Gideon mocking me after reading that I loved him.
As soon as I entered Nico’s room, I quickly got his bag out of the closet and begun packing his clothes. I had to find a job and look for an apartment as well. Even though Helga said that I had no right to make demands, I wondered if she would let me have a newspaper.
I tried to pack Nico’s belongings but my vision blurred. Tears started to fall freely from my eyes as the shame and guilt over what I had done once again threatened to cripple me. How could I tell Gideon that I had not meant to hurt him when he wasn’t even listening to me. He was so angry; how could I apologize for my actions.
Trying to force my tears to stop falling but failing miserably, I went to the bathroom to pack Nico’s toiletries. I picked up Nico’s toothbrush when my eyes landed on something glinting in the bathroom light. Dropping the toothbrush, I picked a pair of sharp scissors.
Maybe I should kill myself, I deserve it after all. Gideon would be happy without me.
Without thinking I placed the blade end of the scissors on my bare wrist. I closed my eyes and counted to ten, then begun applying pressure.
No, stop. What are you doing? Stop it, don’t kill yourself. What about Nico, who is going to take care of him once you’re gone? And your baby is still in your womb, don’t kill your baby, your baby deserves to live! Stop it!
Instantly, the pair of scissors fell from my hand as the magnitude of what I was about to do sunk in. Oh God, no, I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t kill myself, I had Nico and my baby to think about. I couldn’t be selfish right now, not when my baby hadn’t even opened his/her eyes.
Feeling out of control, I left Nico’s room and returned to mine. Gideon was not present, which I wasn’t sure was a good thing or not. Taking a deep breath, I sat on the bed and thought about what to do. I knew I was hoping for the impossible, but I wished Gideon would forgive me.
Before I could drown in guilt, the door opened and Helga entered carrying a tray of breakfast. She placed the tray in front of me then stepped back.
“Sire Maslow has ordered for you to finish everything on the tray,” she said then turned to leave.
“Wait Helga.” She stopped and turned to face me, looking irritated. “I know you said I’m not allowed to make demands, but I was wondering if you can bring me a newspaper.” I bit my lip nervously.
“I’ll ask Sire Maslow, if he says yes I’ll bring you the paper.” With that she exited my room.
I eyed my breakfast and my stomach churned. I couldn’t eat anything; the guilt was sitting in my stomach like a pile of heavy rocks. I tore a piece of bread and chewed on it, but it was like chewing a piece of rubber. I had no idea how I managed to finish everything that was on the tray, but I did, and I felt sick after that.
Helga entered after I had finished and placed today’s newspaper on the bed before picking up the now empty tray. I thanked her for the paper and she left without a word.
Ignoring the churning in my stomach, I opened the paper and scanned the whole thing, looking for an apartment. I found a couple of nice apartments and circled the ad with a pen which I got from the drawer. Next, I tried to looking for a nice job, which proved to be difficult. I needed a desk job but there were hardly any available, and those which were, required more than a high school degree.
Feeling hopeless, I dropped the newspaper and laid down on the bed. I needed a job soon, I had to earn money for my brother and my child. Where was I going to work? Who would hire a high school graduate?
Oh God, please help me.
The evening was cold, but I stayed in the garden, sitting on a bench. Sitting in my room was starting to suffocate me, so I decided to go and sit in the garden for a while. So, after forcing lunch down my throat, I came out here and had been sitting here since then. I had no idea where Gideon was, probably in his study, avoiding me.
I was waiting for the sun to set, then I would go back in my room. It was one of those rare days when the sun was out, so I decided to take some advantage of it. Although, the sun wasn’t really doing a great job of warming me up, but still, it felt nice to be sitting out, breathing some fresh air.
“Penny for your thoughts.” I turned and saw Justin standing, a smile on his handsome face.
“Oh hello. I didn’t know you were coming here,” I said.
“I was just with your husband for some work. I was leaving when I saw you sitting out here,” he replied.
“Yeah, I just thought I’d get some fresh air. Would you like to sit down?” I moved a little to the right to make room for Justin.
“If you don’t mind.” He sat down next to me.
“So how are you?” I asked.
“I’m good, thank you. How are you? How’s the baby?” Justin enquired eyeing my baby bump.
“The baby is fine, thank you. So how was your meeting with Gideon?” I queried, trying to make conversation.
“It was all right. We were talking about hiring new people for the company, since Gideon is expanding his business and all,” Justin answered.
“That’s interesting. Justin, if you don’t mind, can I ask you something?” I really wished Justin would help me find a job.
“Sure, what is it?”
“Uh...do you know some place where I can find a decent job?” I questioned.
“Why do you need a job, Gideon earns enough to feed the whole world,” he said.
“I know, but I don’t have anything to do, it gets boring here, you know,” I explained.
“I see. Is Gideon okay with it?”
“Yeah, he is. He agrees that I should get a job until the baby arrives,” I lied. Truth was, I did not care what Gideon thought. I needed to find a job, and I had to do it before Gideon kicked me out.
“All right.” Justin fished a card out of his wallet and handed it to me. “This is my card. You can call me tomorrow and in the meantime I’ll look for a job for you. Would you like a desk job?”
“Yes, a desk job is what I need, and something that pays well.” I told him.
“All right, I’ll see what I can do.”
“Oh, and Justin. I—I am only a high school graduate, I didn’t go to college,” I informed him.
“That’s no problem. I have a couple of people who will hire you. Let me talk to them and I’ll let you know tomorrow,” he said.
“All right, thank you so much, Justin.” I smiled at him. He was such a nice man. Maybe after the contract was over, I would agree to go on a date with Justin.
“Sure thing. I should go now; I have a meeting in a couple of hours.” Justin stood up to leave.
“Okay. I’ll call you tomorrow, you take care, bye.” I watch Justin saunter away, feeling happy that he was going to help me.
Thinking it was time that I went back to my room, I stood up and turned around to leave only to stop abruptly as my eyes met Gideon’s. He looked furious. I opened my mouth to speak but before I could utter a syllable, Gideon grabbed my wrist and dragged me inside.
“Gideon, what’s wrong?” I tried to wrench my hand free but Gideon only tightened his grip, causing me to wince in pain.
But he did not respond. He just dragged me upstairs to our room, and when we entered our room did Gideon let me go. I held my wrist in my other hand, trying to ease the throbbing.
“You really know how to piss me off, don’t you?” Gideon snarled, eyes blazing.
“What are you talking about?” Why was he acting so strange?
“Mark my words, Alice. You are not, and I mean not going to work. You can forget about finding a job,” he stated.
“And why not, huh?”
Gideon ignored me, instead, he picked up the newspaper lying on the bed and showed me the page where I had circled the ads for the apartment.
“And what the hell is this?! You are not leaving, not now, not ever!” He flung the paper to the side.
“I’ll leave whenever I bloody want to!” I stated.
“Not according to the contract you can’t,” he pointed out.
“Yeah well, according to the contract this marriage is going to be over in a few months anyway, why not finish it early. You obviously hate me,” I said, hurt evident in my voice.
Gideon frowned. “Who said I hate you?”
“Doesn’t matter. I can’t live with a man who is so secretive.” I didn’t know why I said that, probably because my hormones were in full swing.
“Oh really, and what makes you think you can leave?” Gideon crossed his arms over his chest, giving me a challenging look.
“I have the contract. I have the law on my side. And I am going to leave once this year is over. And you are going to file for joint custody; there is no way I’m parting with my baby.” I told him.
“And if I don’t file for joint custody?” There was an odd glint in his sea green eyes, something that told me he was forming a plan in his mind.
“Then I’ll take the baby with me. And the court will be in my favor because a baby needs its mum more than its dad, at least when he/she is born,” I stated, feeling confident.
“I distinctly remember the contract saying that the baby will stay with me once this marriage is over, and since you signed the contract as well, the court will have no choice but to give me the custody of the baby,” Gideon said, an arrogant smile on his face.
My heart sank at hearing this. No that was not true. I read the contract a dozen times and there was nothing in there that said that Gideon would have the custody of our child. He was lying.
“You’re lying. I read the contract, there was nothing in there that said the baby will be yours after the contract was over.” It couldn’t be true; it just couldn’t be. I would not be able to live without my baby.
“Oh? Well why don’t you bring the contract and we’ll see exactly what it says,” he suggested calmly.
Wanting to prove Gideon wrong, I marched over to the closet and fetched the blue file which contained my copy of the contract. I handed the file to Gideon who smirked and opened it.
I thought Gideon was going to go over the terms of the contract. I thought he was going to read and show me whether I was wrong or not. I even thought he would apologize to me after reading the contract. But he did something that I would’ve never expected in a million years. He closed the file, then with both of his hands, ripped the file in two. And he didn’t just stop there. Gideon did not stop tearing until the contract resembled white confetti. Then he let the remaining bits of the document fall from his hands.
“Wh—What have you done?!” I shrieked in horror, my eyes bulging out of their sockets.
“What I should’ve done a long time ago, little dove.” Gideon stepped forward until he was standing mere inches from me.
“Yo—You had no right to do this! It was my copy of the contract, you had no right to rip it apart like that, now I would have nothing to use in court.” I was breathing heavily now. Oh God, now Gideon would get custody of the baby.
“No one is going to court, little peach. Not you, and not me. The contract has been terminated. I had it terminated a long time ago. Every single copy of the document is thankfully now destroyed,” he informed me, a satisfied smile on his face.
“How could you do this?!” I cried out, not aware of the tears streaming down my face. “I will not let you take my baby away from me!”
“I can do whatever I want, little one, haven’t you realized that by now. And as for the baby, little bird, the baby is not going anywhere because you are not going anywhere,” Gideon stated.
“If you think I’m going to stay with you after what you just did then you are very much mistaken. I want a divorce, and I want it now.” I had clearly lost my sanity, but I was just so angry.
Gideon laughed, a laugh that shook me to my core. “Divorce?” He laughed once again, then abruptly gripped my upper arms. “Listen to me, and listen good. The contract is over, you are not getting out of this marriage, little peach, not now, not ever.” Gideon stated.
“You can’t do this.” It felt as if Gideon was closing every window of freedom for me, caging me to him.
Gideon caressed my tear stained cheek. “Little fairy, did you forget who has the power here? I can do whatever I want. And I am not letting you go. You can forget about divorce because you are never getting it. You are going to be my wife forever.”
If at any other time Gideon had said those words to me, I would’ve been ecstatic, but not today. It was true I loved Gideon and wanted to stay with him forever, but right now, I was angry. He had effortlessly shattered all my shields and defenses and left me vulnerable. He showed exactly how powerful he was. And right now, I was scared of his power.
“I am never going to be happy with you.” I was grasping at straws, anything to get some sort of leverage over him.
“That’s debatable, little dove. Right now, just understand that the contract is no more. It’s over. You are going to be wife, not just for a year, but for eternity. And our baby is going to grow up with both of his parents in this castle, got it?”
Suddenly, I felt exhausted, weak. I knew it was over, Gideon had won. He had all the power, and I had nothing. I found myself too tired to argue with him anymore, so I didn’t say anything. Taking my silence as a ‘yes’ Gideon kissed my forehead.
“Now, why don’t you rest. I have some work I need to do. When I come back, I want to see you sleeping soundly, okay?” He commanded. I kind of felt he wasn’t angry anymore.
Without saying a word, I got on the bed and laid down, facing away from Gideon. He pulled the duvet over me and with another kiss on my forehead, left the room. I did not want to sleep, but I felt exhausted, which resulted in sleep coming easily.
Just as darkness pulled me under, I kept thinking,
How was I going to deal with these new circumstances now?