After taking a quick shower and putting on a dress, I strode out of my room to find Gideon; I needed Kieran’s number in order to check on Nico.
Gideon had not been in bed when I had woken up after my nap. Strangely I felt my heart sink when I woke up to find myself alone in the room. I knew it was totally ridiculous of me to expect someone to be nice and loving towards me when he had only married me for a baby, but I just couldn’t control what I felt.
I was really dumb.
Checking the living room and then the library I frowned when I did not see Gideon anywhere. Where was he? Was he already gone for work?
After searching a couple of more rooms, I became breathless; the castle was huge and there was a considerable difference between one room and the next, which had me gasping for breath after searching six rooms. I wondered how many rooms this gigantic castle had. And how long it would take for me to explore all of it? A year? Maybe more? If it was going to take more than one year then I believe I would not be able to see all of it.
Giving up after finding the sixth bedroom empty of my husband, I got out of the room planning to back to my room, when I found myself confused as to what direction my room was in.
I turned my head left and right to see if I could recall the direction of my bedroom but it looked as if my short term memory had come into play because I did not know which direction I had come from. I was well and truly lost, after being here for only a few hours.
It was in times like these that I wished I had been blessed with some spatial intelligence, but no, God chose to bless me with one terrible trait after the other.
Relying on my instincts–which were not exactly reliable—I chose to head right, praying it would lead me to a familiar location. However, my unreliable instincts one again proved just how utterly useless they were, because as I kept going further, I found myself in an unfamiliar grand room.
It was a circular room; with a marble floor, grand windows, plush velvet curtains and tapestries on the walls, giving the room a royal look. A massive crystal chandelier hung from the center, the tear drop crystals sparkling in the sunlight that was filtering through the windows. There was a portrait of a woman hung on the wall. The woman looked to be well in her thirties with beautiful skin, rosy cheeks, sea green eyes; she was dressed in a purple gown that looked incredibly expensive. She sat proudly atop a high backed chair. She looked regal. I wonder who she was? Gideon’s mother? Grandmother? Great-grandmother? Whoever she was, she only added to the beauty of the already breathtaking room, which was probably off limits as well.
Feeling my heart sink at being in yet another unfamiliar room, I bolted out of the circular room and found myself back in the vast corridor. Panic started taking over me as I found myself trapped in this peculiar, grand maze. I knew being with Gideon would not be easy, but right now finding him was proving to be more difficult that I could possibly imagine; not to mention I had yet to call Keiran and enquire about Nico; God, it was only my first day at being married and I was already cursing! So much for living like a bloody princess.
“Malady? Are you alright?” a soft, feminine voice asked.
I twisted my neck in the direction of the voice so fast it was a wonder it didn’t break.
Standing just a few feet away from me was a woman who looked to be in her mid twenties, wearing the signature maid uniform. Her blonde hair was tied in a neat bun above her head, while her pale skin was dotted with freckles. She had dark blue eyes and thin lips.
“Aah yes, do you know where Gideon is?” I asked the woman, not wanting to let her know I was lost.
“Mr. Maslow is in his study,” the maid answered.
“I would like to see him.” I was not going to request this maid to take me to Gideon, he was my husband and I had every right to see him.
“When Mr. Maslow is in his study, he gives strict instructions to not let anyone disturb him,” she replied.
“Well I’m his wife and I want you to take me to his study,” I asserted. I needed to see Gideon and no one was going to stop me...except my sense of direction.
Before the maid could say anything, soft footsteps were heard from behind her. A woman, who looked to be in her forties appeared with a frown on her face.
“What’s going on here? Malady, what are you doing here?” The woman demanded, as if me being here was wrong.
“I want to see Gideon, take me to him,” I ordered the older woman.
“Suzy, why haven’t you taken Mrs. Maslow to Mr. Maslow study?” The older asked the younger one, who furrowed her eyebrows.
“You know the rules, no one is allowed to disturb him, when he’s working,” Suzy muttered to the older woman.
“Yes, but we cannot have her roaming on this floor, this part of the castle is forbidden, Mr. Maslow has given me no instructions to allow his wife to come here,” the older woman whispered harshly.
Seriously?! I was standing right there, and they were conversing with each other like I wasn’t standing just a few feet from them. I get that I was short and skinny, but that in no way made me invisible!
More importantly, why was this part of the castle forbidden? Was it because of the lady in the room? Was this castle haunted? But I did not find anything out of the ordinary while I searched for my husband here, so why in the Buckingham Palace was this part of the castle forbidden?
“Please forgive me, Malady, I will take you to Mr. Maslow right away, if you would just follow me,” Suzy said to me after a few seconds.
Not wanting to waste my time lingering here more than I already had, I begun to follow Suzy’s lead, but the older woman’s voice stopped me.
“Malady, with all due respect, please refrain from coming to this floor from now on. This part of the castle is strictly forbidden to all the staff and family alike, Mr. Maslow will not be happy if he knows you have ventured in the forbidden parts of the castle,” she told me.
“Why is this part of the castle forbidden?” I questioned.
“I’m afraid I’m not in the liberty to tell you this, Malady,” she responded, her gaze not leaving mine. It was like she wanted me gone; like she was angry that I had dared to come here.
However, her words only peaked my curiosity. She might not be in the liberty to tell me exactly why this part of the castle was forbidden, but I knew Gideon would tell me. He had to tell me.
“Any other parts of the castle that are forbidden?” I asked, acid dripping from my words.
“Yes, this floor and the rest of the floors above this one are strictly forbidden,” she answered, not sensing the bitterness in my tone. I did not like this woman.
Nodding my head, I turned and let Suzy lead me out of the forbidden zone. We went down five flights of stairs which had me mentally smacking myself. How on Earth had I managed to climb so many stairs? Five floors! I had searched rooms in five floors! Well they were only six rooms that had tried to find Gideon in...six unlocked rooms, the rest of them were locked.
Throughout all this, I took in the beauty and opulence of the castle. There was not a single thing that looked cheap. Everything looked to be state of the art and expensive. Not to mention that the castle was a contrast between new and old. The structure of the castle looked to be made in the 18th century, but the technology was definitely from the 21st century.
After descending two more flights of stairs, Suzy took a sharp right, leading me in a secluded corridor. She stopped when she came face to face with a giant door. Raising her small fist, Suzy knocked twice on the door.
“Yes?′ Came a masculine voice, unmistakably Gideon’s.
“Sir, your wife wishes to speak to you,” Suzy answered back.
“Okay, you may leave,” he replied.
Nodding at the wooden door, Suzy turned and walked away, leaving me standing staring at the expensive wooden door. I had half the mind to follow her, but something told me Gideon was going to open the door.
When the door opened, I sighed in relief, glad that I had chose to stay despite the confusion that had gather like a cloud in my mind when Suzy left me. I entered the room and the door immediately closed.
Gideon sat in a plush high backed chair behind a large wooden desk. Papers littered the surface of the desk along with other accessories, like a glass paper weight, a mini globe, a pencil holder, and a pad of stick notes. A giant Mac sat on his right, the screen showing an Excel sheet.
The rest of Gideon’s study was not different from the rest of the castle. There were a couple of grand, high backed visiting chairs, while a royal sofa was placed against one wall with two matching chairs on either side of it. There was a small chandelier that hung from the ceiling, casting a soft glow around the room. The velvet curtains prevented sunlight from entering, bathing the room in artificial light.
“I see you’re awake,” Gideon stated, looking at me.
“Why were you not in bed?” I asked, then immediately regretted it. I did not want Gideon to think that him not being in bed made me unhappy.
“I had work to do,” he answered.
“You could’ve woken me up,” I told him.
“No, you looked like you needed to rest,” he replied, letting his eyes run over the paper he was holding.
“Well, I tried searching for you, I got lost.” I begun playing with my necklace.
“Well now you found me, tell me, little peach, what can I do for you?” Gideon asked.
Commit suicide, maybe? It would save me the trouble of being married to you, my subconscious suggested.
“I need Kieran’s number,” I told him.
“Why?” Gideon’s raised an eyebrow.
“I need to talk to him,” I answered vaguely, not wanting to tell him the real reason I wanted to talk to his brother.
“About?” He was not going to let this go.
“Something important.” I was not going to tell him why I needed to speak to Kieran either.
“And that is?” Man, he asked a lot of questions.
“Uh, something important,” I repeated.
“Tell me, little one, are you deliberately being obtuse or were you born like this?” Gideon enquired.
My temper flared after hearing his words. The nerve of that man! How dare he called me obtuse?!
“Just give me Kieran’s number,” I demanded angrily.
“No,” he said.
“No?” He had to give me the number.
“Not until you tell me what you want to talk to him about,” he stated.
“I told you it’s something important,” I gritted out.
“And I asked you exactly what it is.” This man was impossible.
“It’s important,” I repeated stubbornly.
“Important, like wanting to know about your brother?”
I huffed. “Okay fine, yes, I want to know how Nico is, and I need to tell Kieran to give Nico his medicine at exactly nine o’ clock, now can I please have his number.” This is what I was reduced to—begging. I could not believe that I had landed myself in such a state just because of money. No wonder greed was one of the seven deadly sins.
“See, now that wasn’t so hard, was it?” Gideon loved taunting me, riling me up.
“What’s his number?” I asked him, ready to memories Kieran’s number.
Gideon did not answer, instead picked up the cordless phone and pressed a button. “Come here, you can talk to Kieran now.” He held out of the phone for me to take.
I reached Gideon in three strides. Taking the phone from his hand, I plopped on one of the visiting chairs and listened to the monotonous ringing.
“Hello?” Kieran’s spoke.
“Hello, Kieran, it’s me, Alice,” I said.
“Oh, hello, little mushroom, how are you doing?” He asked.
“I’m okay, listen, is Nico there with you?”
“Yes, he’s watching TV,” Kieran answered.
“Has he had his dinner?” I enquired.
“Not yet, but in another hour we will sit down for dinner,” Kieran replied.
“Okay, make sure his meal is free of any fats, just give him vegetables, they are good for his health, and please give him his medicines at exactly nine o’ clock, I have kept them all in his suitcase along with the prescription,” I told him.
“Anything else? Does he sleep on his right side or left? Does he have a special bear that he likes to sleep with? Does he sleep after he hears a bedtime story?” Kieran taunted.
“No,” I gritted, trying to calm myself, “Just do as I said and tell Nico I said hi.” With that I hung up, not wanting to listen to Kieran’s annoying voice.
Putting the phone on the table, I breathed heavily. I was short tempered, I really was. But it had been so long since anyone had truly pissed me off. Now, with Kieran taunting me, I found myself getting angrier and angrier, and I did not like it.
“Is that all?” Gideon asked.
I nodded. “Yes, thank you, I’ll leave you to your work, sorry for disturbing you.” I stood up and turned, intending to head out the door, but stopped myself when a thought entered my mind.
“Yes?” He did not look up from his papers.
“How did the door open when you were sitting behind the desk?” I queried.
“Remote control. I pressed a button and the door opened then pressed another button that had the door closing.” See what I meant by a combination of old and new.
“Oh, that’s nice, and one more question.” Now that we were talking about the house, I might as well ask what had been bothering me earlier.
“Yes?” Gideon was so nice at times.
“Why are the upper floors of the castle forbidden?” I questioned.
That got a reaction from him. Gideon’s head whipped up, his eyes staring at me. One second he was sitting behind the desk working away, and the next he was standing in front of me, gripping my arms with his hands, his gaze hard.
“Who told you that?” He asked me, anger marring his face.
“Uh, the maids told me,” I answered, suddenly afraid of him.
“Why? Why would they tell you?” He shook me, causing my fear to rise.
“I—I went up to the seventh floor looking for you—I got lost and Suzy and this other maid found me and told me the top floors were forbidden,” I answered, my heart pounding.
Gideon released me from his grasp and clutched his head, spinning around so his back was to me, Gideon groaned in frustration. Whirling around, Gideon grabbed my shoulders and brought me closer to him, he bent his face until his breath mixed with mine.
“Don’t ever, and I mean ever dare to go up there, Alice, I mean it, there will be serious consequences if you step foot on the seventh floor and above, do you understand me?” Gideon ordered.
I nodded, too shocked and terrified to utter a syllable. I had no idea what on Earth was up there that had Gideon reacting like this, but whatever it was, it was bloody serious.
After seeing me nod, Gideon instantly relaxed. With a quick nod, Gideon removed his hold from my shoulders. Taking a couple of deep breaths, Gideon ran a hand through his hair.
“You are not even going to mention about these floors ever again, got it?”
I nodded once again.
“Good, now let’s go eat, you must be hungry,” Gideon stated. Taking my hand in his, Gideon led me out of the study.
I had no clue what was up there. But I was going to find out before this year ended.