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Ambrose’s head turned towards his brother, Alex. It was still taking him time to get used to him. Alex was only a boy when Ambrose last saw him. There was recognition and surprise in his little brother’s eyes. Did he know Bell? That would be odd because both of them ran in different circles. Ambrose turned to his Bell, trying to
gauge her reaction. A similar expression was reflected on her face.
“Do the two of you know each other?” Victor asked.
“We do,” Alex whispered and got up from his chair.
Ambrose saw him walking to Bell. Bell nodded as well and turned to Alex. To Ambrose’s horror, Alexleaned down and placed a chaste kiss on Bell’s lips.
“What the fuck is happening here?” Ambrose roared. Anger ran through
his veins. For the first time in his life, Ambrose wanted to strangle his brother. How dare Alex touch his Bell? How dare Alex think it was okay to kiss Ambrose’s girl.
“Step away from Bell, Alex. Or so help me, I will kill you,” Ambrose snarled.
Alex’s eyes widened.
“I don’t understand,” Alex mumbled.
“Don’t act obtuse,” Malcolm snapped, “I had specifically given you instructions on how to behave with
the Ambrose’s Muse. I told you....” Malcolm warned
“No one tell me on how to behave with my fiancée,” Alex snapped and audaciously placed a hand on Bell’s shoulder.
Ambrose got up from his chair and stalked to his brother. He grabbed his collars and pulled him away from Bell.
“How dare you touch my Bell?” Ambrose snarled.
“Ambrose, step away from Lex!” Bell cried.
Ambrose looked at Bell, his brows furrowed in confusion. Slowly he began to piece things together.
“My Brother Alex is your fiancé Lex?” Ambrose whispered.
“It looks like that,” Bell sobbed.
“I am so confused. What is happening here?” Alex announced.
“It looks like Alexander and Bell are engaged to each other. Bell is Ambrose’s muse for his painting and
Alexander is Ambrose’s brother,” Victor tried to explain, “you guys get it?”
“I do now,” Alex whispered and then turned to Bell, “so you are basically getting naked in front of my brother for the painting.”
“I don’t know how to feel about that,” Alex said, “it is discomforting.”
“You little shit,” Ambrose snapped, “you were okay with her getting naked before but now that you realise
that it is your brother who is painting her, then things finally get discomforting? What kind of a fiancé is okay with his partner getting naked in front of another man? Is that what I taught you?”
“I am definitely not okay with Bell getting naked in front of other men. But I don’t own her body, she has the right to make her own decisions,” Alex shot back.
“That’s just bullshit. Your relationship is a fucking scam!” Ambrose roared.
“Don’t you dare, Ambrose....”
“Fuck this shit! Your fiancé was getting naked in front of me because she needed money for the treatment of her sister’s cancer! Did she tell youthat? Why did she feel the need to sell her body in exchange for money?”
“I didn’t sell my body,” Bell cried.
“Sweetheart, I got you from a Madame,” Ambrose whispered.
Bell’s eyes were watery, her lips trembled, and it looked like she wanted to either kill Ambrose or start crying like a baby.
“Is that true, Bell?” Alex asked.
Bell didn’t say anything, she just nodded and looked down at the floor.
“Why didn’t you approach me? You know I would’ve helped you,”
“I didn’t want money to come between us. You are so rich; I didn’t want you thinking that I was with you only for money. The truth is, I have
always felt that I don’t deserve you. I am poor and struggling while you are so successful,” Bell sobbed.
“What? Bell! Have I ever made you feel undeserving? I am so lucky to have you,” Alex said.
“It is true, I love you very much. You don’t have to continue being Ambrose’s Muse. Let us go to NewYork and I will give you the money,”
“If you love me so much, then why do you hesitate to kiss me. We have been
together for two years!” Bell shot back.
“Yes Alex, do tell,” Ambrose folded his arms across his chest.
Alex narrowed his eyes and turned to Bell.
“Bell, you know I come from a conservative family,” Alex said, “I do not believe in getting intimate before marriage.”
“You fucking liar,” Malcolm grinned and stepped forward.
“What is he talking about?” Bell asked.
“Nothing, why don’t you pack your bags and we will leave,” Alex instructed.
“You are not going anywhere, Bell. Malcolm, what is it that you want to tell us?” Ambrose asked.
“Ms Bell, your fiancé, he is gay.”
Bell’s jaw dropped and she turned to Alex, staring at him accusingly.
“He is lying,” Alex pointed out.
“You want proof, I have pictures of the two of us sleeping together,” Malcolm shot back.
“You slept with Malcolm? How could you, Alex?” Bell cried, “and here I thought that something is wrong with me.”
“You are perfection, Bell.” Ambrose announced.
“Okay! Fine! I lied! But that doesn’t mean that I don’t love Bell. But I have
to point out, I have completely brotherly feelings for her!”
“Ew,” Bell cried.
“I know I betrayed you and I am sorry but Bell, you don’t have to stay with him. Trust me. I will pay for your sister’s treatment.”
“I don’t want your money,” Bell sobbed, “you have lied to me since the past two years. What did I ever do to deserve such a treatment? And you never even told me that you head a crime syndicate! What did you
expect? That I would go on living my life without ever finding out?
“Bell, c’ mon.” Alex stepped towards her, but Bell took a step away.
“Please, I am sorry. You have no idea how much it hurt. Every day, getting up, it has been a chore. I didn’t want to do this. I tried controlling myself and I tried to see you as an intimate partner, but I just couldn’t. I am sorry, Bell. I really am.”
“I don’t know how to forgive you,” Bell sobbed.
“There is absolutely no forgiveness for this, Alexander. To think that you betrayed her!” Ambrose snapped.
Victor stepped forward; arms folded across chest.
“I don’t think it is right for only Alexander to face the heat,” Victor said.
“What do you mean?” Alex asked.
“Let us not forget that the two of you made a very conscious decision to cheat on him as well. Ambrose you were clearly aware of Bell’s
engagement and Bell, even you couldn’t exercise control on your senses,” Victor said.
“Victor please get clear; I don’t have time for riddles.”
“Victor don’t you dare utter a single word,” Ambrose warned.
“Alex, Bell and Ambrose had sex a couple of nights ago,” Victor announced, “to accuse you of betrayal is nothing but hypocrisy. Even though they don’t see it or maybe are too scared to admit but Ambrose and
Bell love each other very much. They have been trying to fight their feelings, especially Bell. She really tried to stay committed but she couldn’t resist Ambrose’s charm.”
“Thank you for telling me this, Victor.” Alex looked at Bell and Ambrose with a piercing glare. “And here I was, being the villain when my own brother and fiancée were canoodling.”
“I wouldn’t call it canoodling,” Ambrose mumbled.
Bell’s glare had him shutting up.
“I don’t know what to do,” Alex announced, “Bell and I cannot continue with our relationship. It is built on lies and false identities.”
Bell looked pained but nodded in agreement.
“And I just want to say that I do love Bell, but those feelings aren’t romantic in nature. I see her as a little sister, and I will continue to do so. And if it is her wish, then I want her to start a relationship with my
brother. It is difficult for me to see him with googly eyes.”
“I am sorry, Alex. I really do love you. I wish I could go back in time and mend my mistake. It doesn’t matter what I feel for Ambrose. Point is that my commitment is much more important than anything else and I didn’t honour it.”
“Don’t be too hard on yourself,” Alex admonished, “we are equally at faults here.”
“You must be relieved,” Malcolm said to Alex.
“I kind of am. Bell is so perfect, you can never be her equal,”
Ambrose nodded in agreement.
“I guess, Ambrose and Bell are together now,” Victor said, clapping his hands together.
Bell stared and Ambrose for a second before turning around and walking to her room.
“We are not together,” Ambrose whispered.
“Why not?” Alex asked.
“Bell is a very complicated human being. She has a very profound understanding of what she wants inlife and doesn’t. Bell is also very principled. She will never go against her ideals. And I am not an ideal partner. Bell doesn’t deserve this life of crime and darkness,”
“But you are not even a part of the mafia anymore,” Alex commented.
“I was born in the mafia. I will always be a part of it whether I like it or not
and as much as it hurts me. There is a rational part of me that screams to not be with Bell, to not drag her in my very messy life. I don’t want to hurt her. I don’t want to endanger her.”
“Bell will understand,” Victor whispered, “why don’t you try talking to her?”
Ambrose shook his head. There was absolutely no hope for the two of them. Maybe Bell indeed had to move on.
“Prepare me a plate, I will deliver it Bell’s room,” Ambrose whispered.
“I thought you weren’t going,”
“I cannot let her go hungry, not under my roof,”
Alex prepared a plate for Bell and Ambrose took it from and walked towards Bell’s room.
Ambrose could hear her sniffles and his heart ached at those sounds. He never wanted to see her cry. He pushed the door open and entered
inside. Bell was sitting by the window, looking outside.
“I know you think of these two months as a sentence,” Ambrose began, “but I just want to say that you can leave. You can leave and I will nottake any money from you.”
Bell spoke after a few moments.
“I broke one commitment before, I am not going to break another one. I cannot fall further in my own eyes,” Bell whispered, “I am going to leave only when the two months are over.
Hopefully you complete your painting by then.”
“Bell, I love you. I have never loved anyone as much as I love you... please give us a chance,” Ambrose whispered.
“I am sorry. I indeed am. And even though Alex is equally at fault and I should have no reason to be upset anymore but I still feel guilty. I don’t feel good, Ambrose. I feel I have betrayed myself; I don’t know how to live with myself,”
“Don’t say that, Bell. You are amazing. You are pure and innocent and beautiful and just so perfect. I love you so much. I will do anything, Bell, just anything to get that smile on your face.”
“Just leave me alone,” Bell cried, “please. I look at you and I feel all the more guilty. Please, just let me be.”
“I cannot leave, you need to have your food.”
“I will eat, but just go!”
Ambrose nodded and turned around to leave the room.
“I will be here, tonight. I think it is best to complete this painting before our time is up,” Ambrose whispered.
“That will be great, I will be ready,”
“See you tonight, Bell. And please do have your lunch,” Ambrose said before leaving the room.
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