“I am telling you, Mr. Maslow that I’m not going to marry you if you’re only marrying me out of pity, I told you before I’m not a charity case, so please, don’t waste your time on someone like me, I’m sure you got other girls to interview,” I rattled out, wanting the three millionaires that were currently occupying the sofa of my living room, to leave. Their authoritative and grand presence in my living room made me feel slightly claustrophobic. Men like Gideon Maslow looked way out of place in my apartment. Men like Gideon belonged in grand mansions, not in tiny, cramped apartments.
“And I’m telling you that I want to marry you, and it’s not out of pity,” he stated, staring down at me.
“Why? Just hours ago you told me I had no class or status, insulting not only my financial status but my genes as well, and now you’re here telling me you want to marry me, are you even aware of how ridiculous that sounds?” I huffed, frowning at the rich giant in front of me...a very handsome giant.
“That time I didn’t consider you wife material, and now I do, so go and pack your bags, we’re getting married in three days,” Gideon answered smoothly, as if I would be okay with his constant change of decisions.
“No, I refuse to marry you,” I stated, crossing my arms over my chest.
“Excuse me.” Gideon looked taken aback. “You can’t refuse to marry me; you came to me, asking me to marry you,” he said with a frown on his face.
“That time I wanted to marry you because I need money for my brother’s surgery, and now I don’t want to marry you,” I responded coolly.
Kieran snickered from behind Gideon. “Damn, you are so tiny but you have a huge ego,” Kieran commented.
“I do not have a huge ego, I just have a preference, and you brother is not it,” I replied.
“So you wanted to marry my brother only for the money?” Kieran questioned with an amused smile on his face.
“Yes, I told you that before,” I answered.
“So where are you going to get the money from, now?” he queried.
“I don’t see how is that any of your business,” I shot back, irritated. Truth was, I had no clue where I was going to get the money for my brother’s surgery, but I also wasn’t going to marry someone who thought I was a charity case. And I did not believe Gideon when he said that he changed his mind, because men like Gideon didn’t just change their minds on the whim, there had to be a solid reason behind it.
“So in other words, what you’re saying is, you don’t have money for your brother’s surgery and you refuse to marry Gideon, who can easily provide you with financial support,” Kieran said. “Wow, not only you’re short and egotistic, you are also selfish and stupid; Gideon, are you sure you still want to marry her?” Kieran asked Gideon who was standing in front of me with his eyes glued to my face. Kieran was starting to piss me off and I was so close to snapping at him and telling him to get the hell out of my apartment, but my damn manners prevented me from doing so.
“I am not selfish,” I gritted out, glaring at Kieran who sat on the sofa with a mischievous grin on his face.
“On the contrary, little mushroom, you are, you are so selfish; you are rejecting a perfectly good proposal all because you couldn’t handle rejection, instead of thinking about your brother who can get a better life if you would just suck up your woman pride and marry Gideon, you are telling us that you changed your mind, if that’s not being selfish, then, little mushroom, tell me what is?”
“First of all, don’t ever call me little mushroom, and second, shut the hell up, you don’t know me, so you have no right to judge me on my decisions. Nico’s surgery is my problem and where I’m going to get the money is also my problem, so stay out of it,” I hissed, my eyes narrowed at Kieran, who didn’t seem effected.
“Some people are so stupid, right Gideon?” Kieran snickered, earning another glare from me. “The solution to their problems are right in front of them, literally knocking on their door, and all those people care about is their pride. I hope they know that pride comes before the fall.”
Without thinking, I charged over to where Kieran was sitting, fully intending to strangle that judgmental asshole, but a strong arm wounding around my waist prevented me.
“Let go, I’m going to kill him!” I shrieked, struggling against the vice-like grip around my waist.
“Stop it,” Gideon ordered, before pulling me back and standing in front of Kieran—shielding him.
Taking a deep breath, I composed myself but did not stop glaring at Kieran. “Now, what Kieran said was right, why can’t you just accept this and go pack your bags like a good little girl?” Gideon enquired.
“Because, I don’t understand why in the United Kingdom do you want to marry me? When you can have any girl you want; when there are hundreds of girls getting butt cramps for sitting in your waiting area waiting for their interview; why on Earth do you want to marry me?” I threw back at him.
“Do you want an answer for everything?” Gideon asked.
“Yes,” I stated.
“Well you’re not getting one, now go and pack your bags, this apartment is making me claustrophobic.” Gideon unbuttoned the top of his shirt.
“Well then I’m not going to pack my bags,” I stated.
The door of Nico’s room opened and Nico walked out. Running his eyes over the three men, his gaze landed on me. “Alice, is everything okay?”
“Yes, Nico, everything is perfectly fine,” I answered immediately, walking over to him.
“I heard you screaming, are you okay? Did they hurt you?” Nico questioned, glaring at the three men.
“Yes, I’m perfectly fine, I was just surprised when Gideon said something so I screamed,” I reassured him, cringing at the awful lie.
“What did he say that surprised you so much?” Nico enquired.
I mentally shook my head. Nico asked a lot of questions. And sometimes these questions annoyed me; kind of like right now.
“We told your sister that you can have your surgery and get your heart fixed,” Gideon answered. His words made me close my eyes. The man had no clue when to keep his mouth shut. He was feeding Nico false hope, which would only create more problems for me.
Nico looked at me with hopeful eyes and guilt stabbed my heart when I realized how I was going to have to falsify Gideon’s claims, which would break his already fragile heart.
“Is it true, Alice? Did he say that he can get my heart fixed?” Nico asked hopefully.
I was just about say no when Kieran spoke up. “Yes, but your sister here does not agree,” he said.
Cursing under my breath I turned my head to glare at Kieran. The nerve of these men! Using my brother against me! I knew what they were doing. By telling Nico about getting surgery, they were using Nico in order to make me agree to marriage with Gideon.
The hope in Nico’s eyes shattered as a frown marred his forehead. My heart cracked at seeing the look on Nico’s face. “Why Alice? Do you not want me to get better?” Nico questioned.
“No, no, that’s not true...” I trailed off, at a loss for words. There was no excuse for me to give Nico which would explain why I was not agreeing to all this. Damn these arrogant arseholes.
“So you do agree on getting my surgery, right?” Nico queried with a small smile, the hope back in his eyes.
“Uh, um, yeah, of course I do,” I said hesitantly. “Why don’t you go in your room while I sort this out with the men, hmm?” I really wanted to Nico to leave so I could give Gideon a piece of my mind.
“Okay.” Kissing my cheek, Nico jogged back to his room and shut the door.
I whirled around, throwing the three men the most venomous glare I could muster, fury brewing in my heart. These manipulative bastards had crossed the line. Now, I was done being the nice girl.
“What’s wrong, little fairy? You okay?” Gideon asked with a victorious smile on his face.
“You are going to pay for this,” I gritted out, my nails digging in my palms.
“Of course, I’ll provide you with financial support, little peach, don’t worry,” he responded.
“I am going to ruin your life,” I threatened.
“Oh, little dove, why don’t you be a good girl and go pack your bags,” Gideon said, my threats not fazing him in the least.
His words lit a fuse inside me. The brewing anger finally reached its peak and was now flowing like molten lava, heating my core.
“You son of a—” I screamed but was cut off by a booming voice.
Gideon’s father, who had been silent since the moment they came, rose from the sofa and strode over to where Gideon was standing. All of a sudden I realized exactly how small I really was. I had two strong men standing in front of me, staring me down.
“You are forgetting your place. You are clearly disobeying my son and I am not going to tolerate that; do as he says and go pack your bags, because trust me if you make me angry then you should know that I am going to crush you,” Mr. Maslow threatened.
“Dad you don’t have to threaten her, she is going to go pack her bags, don’t scare her,” Gideon reasoned with his father.
“If she is going to be your wife, she needs to know what is expected of her, and this blatant display of disrespect is going to cost her in the future,” Mr. Maslow said.
By now I had tears in my eyes. My courage and strength deserted me as the three men cornered me. While two of them stared me down, the other one was sitting looking relaxed. There was no way out. They had turned my own brother against me; using his hopes and wishes against me. I was regretting going for the interview, I did not know that I would end up being threatened into this marriage.
“Gideon, you can find other women, better women, don’t waste your time on me,” I said, trying my best to convince Gideon not to marry me. It was funny how just a few hours ago I was ready to convince Gideon to marry me.
“I don’t want to find any other woman, I’ve made up my mind, you are going to be my wife, little one,” he responded softly, coming closer until he was standing mere inches from me.
“I will not be a good wife to you. You are never going to be happy with me,” I stated desperately, grasping at straws.
“That remains to be seen, for now, go pack your bags.” God, did he not get tired of saying the same thing again and again?
Knowing that there was nothing more I could do to change Gideon’s mind, I could only think of one thing.
“I’ll marry you, but on one condition,” I told him.
“And what is that, little fairy?” Gideon enquired with a small smile.
“You stated in the ad that you’ll pay one million pounds at the end of the year when the contract is over, right?”
“Well, I want the money now, only then I’ll marry you,” I stated.
“Sorry, little dove, can’t do that,” Gideon responded, shaking his head.
“How would I know if you’re not going to run away with the money?”
“I am not, you can trust me,” I said.
“No, sorry, little one, you’ll just have to wait a year for the money,” Gideon said.
“50 percent,” I negotiated.
“What?” Gideon asked.
“Give me half the amount right now and half when the contract is over,” I explained.
Gideon breathed an audible sigh. “Fine, I’ll pay you half the amount once we get married and half when the contract is over,” he replied.
I felt as if a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I now had money for Nico’s surgery, which meant that I would not have to work my arse off in order to buy medicines for my brother. Now, he was going to have his surgery and would be able to live life like other ten year olds like him.
“You can go and discuss this with your brother, while we get the contract ready for you to sign,” Mr. Maslow suggested.
Nodding slightly, I hurried over to Nico’s room. Finding the door unlocked, I quickly entered and closed the door behind me. Nico laid in his bed, reading a book. When he saw me, he shut the book and put it on the nightstand next to his bed.
“Nico, you know when the men said that they were going to help us get your surgery done,” I started. Nico nodded, giving me his complete attention. “Well, I have to marry one of them for that to happen,” I told him. I was not sure if Nico was going to understand, he was only a kid.
“If you don’t marry him, I will not get my surgery?” The sadness in Nico’s tone had my decision solidifying. Now, whatever happened, I was going to marry Gideon and get the money for Nico’s surgery. I could not bear to see him sad.
“Yes.” However, I had to tell him the truth, right now.
“Do you love him?” Nico asked.
“Yes, I do,” I lied, smiling at him. If my brother found out that this marriage was arranged, then he would tell me not to marry Gideon, and his dreams would be crushed.
“Then marry him,” he responded with a smile. That smile was the reason I was still fighting the world. And that smile was the reason I would marry Gideon.
“Okay, thank you,” I told him.
Ruffling his hair a bit, I strode out of Nico’s room and back in the living room where Mr. Maslow, Gideon and Kieran were sitting on the sofa, with a black briefcase which was opened containing various sort of papers, while Gideon held a file in his hands.
“This is the contract, sign it and we are getting married in three days,” Gideon told me once I sat down next to him. He gave me the file, letting me go through the content of the contract.
Taking my time, I carefully went through the contract. It stated that I had to give Gideon an heir within a year otherwise I was not going to get the amount promised. Other than that, I had to attend every single event Gideon was going to be invited to, and would have to try my best to be the perfect wife. Upon the ending of the contract, I was free to date other men but before that I was going to have to be faithful to Gideon. Also, after the baby was born and the contract would end, it was my choice whether I wanted to be a part of the baby’s life or not; if so, then I would have to go to court for a case of joint custody, otherwise the baby would be Gideon’s.
“You didn’t say that half the amount will be given to me right now,” I told Gideon.
“Yeah, because we just made the condition right now, you will get the revised contract tomorrow, but for now, sign here,” Gideon replied, pointing to a dotted line.
“How do I know you’re not bluffing?” I questioned.
“Because I never go back on my word, plus Kieran will be staying with you tonight until the new contract is made and then you’ll sign that, but for now sign this as I want the reassurance that you’re not going to back out,” Gideon replied.
Sighing deeply, I held out my hand. “Give me a pen.”
Gideon immediately handed me an expensive, silver, fountain pen, with some kind of signature on the cap. Without thinking twice, I removed the cap of the pen and signed. I signed my life away. I signed myself away.