“Here’s your food Ruby, hot as you requested.” Nai places a bowl of lentil soup on the table.
The older woman stares at it with pursed lips, as though it’s appalling to her. “How do I know you didn’t poison it?”
“Why would I do that Ruby? I know you don’t think much of me, but I’m not so heartless as to kill an innocent woman. Besides, I’d have both your boys at my neck if I tried, well Adam at least.”
She frowns. “What’s that supposed to mean? Are you insinuating my Peter wouldn’t slaughter you for killing me?”
“Well, I can’t really say, can I? I’ve seen how Adam reacts when it comes to you. He’s highly defensive and will not hesitate to become violent if he feels someone is threatening or ridiculing you. However Peter, I’ve never seen him become nearly as passionate. I’ll admit, I’ve said some rude things about you to him when your persistent, mean demeanor frustrated me over the past week, and while he could’ve been furious, he didn’t seem to care. Frankly, he even agreed with me. I’m sure he loves you, but I’m just a bit curious if he’d always choose you.”
She glares at Nai. “What are you even saying? I’m his mother, of course he’d always choose me. What, you think just because he’s forgiven you and plans to build a life together with you that he’s forgotten about me? Preposterous! If he were faced with a choice, he’d always choose me, even over you.”
“Maybe, but....” She pauses dramatically. “Actually, I better not say.” She turns to Ruby. “Can I get you anything else?”
“Wait just a minute now, what was that?” She pushes the tray away from her. “Tell me what you were going to say right this instant!” She wheels her chair closer to Nai.
“It was nothing, I was just thinking out loud. I’m sure he would choose you.” She pretends like she’s in deep thought. “Then again I wonder, would he always?” She looks at Ruby now. “You certainly have been the most important woman in his life, but now he has me. I offer him fulfillment in ways he doesn’t want with you and with his constant talk of starting a family, I just wonder if he’ll be able to continue choosing you over the family he’d have made? I can’t speak for him, but he seems to be the kind of man that would take care of his home and cherish his wife and children above all else. If you continue to treat me so rudely or if you were to look down on our children, I think he’d take issue with that. Also, every time he’s discussed our new home, he says it’ll be a new start for the two of us, not three.” Nai can see from her disgruntled face that she’s thinking about it and is coming to the realization that she may just be right.
Nai decides it’s time to dig in and deal the final blow. “All I can say Ruby, is that while I respect you as his mother, I’m not going to be the sweet and forgiving daughter-in-law you might expect me to be. I’m tolerating your bad attitude now because now that I’ve decided to move forward with Peter, I need to have his full support. However, once we’re married and I’ve become lady of our house, I’m not going to tolerate it anymore, and I will have you respect me as such. If you don’t, then you may just find yourself sent away sooner than you expect.” Nai turns away and prepares to leave. “If you don’t need anything else, I’ll be leaving now. They should be returning soon.”
She walks out, leaving Ruby speechless. She’s been preparing to plant those seeds of doubt for days now, and she’s expecting them to bloom very soon. She grins to herself, certain that the first stage of their master plan is in motion.
The boys return just after five and the two women get up from their seats at the table and greet them. “Welcome back honey.” Nai walks up to Peter and kisses him. “I missed you.”
He gives her a pleased grin and appears as though he’s pleasantly surprised that she’s so welcoming. However, he happily accepts her kiss and returns a second one of his own. “Oh, I missed you too baby, so much.” He turns to look at the other girl. She stands quietly, as though she’s waiting for orders. “I’m surprised to see she’s so calm. She didn’t give you any problems?”
Nai shakes her head. “No, not at all. I talked with her and explained why this is a situation that we could all benefit from if she was willing to try and if you two might be willing to listen.”
Peter raises his brow. “Oh? What exactly do you mean?”
Adam walks in the apartment, carrying the shackles and chains he’d previously used to confine Veronica. Nai can see her tense at the sight, but she manages to remain calm. However, when Adam grabs her wrist, she looks to Nai with panicked eyes.
“Time to go back to your cage whore. You’ve had enough fun.” He tries to pull her along, but she holds back. “I said let’s go back you stupid fucking whore!”
“Wait a minute!” Nai shouts at him, getting his attention. “Please, wait a minute. As I was just telling Peter, we need to talk to you guys about something. Please give us a minute.”
“I don’t want to hear anything you have to say. This is my bitch and I can do anything I want with her. I said I’m taking her back, so save your words.” He tries to pull her again.
Nai looks at Peter with pleading eyes, and with a sigh he turns to Adam and says, “Adam, you can wait a bit longer. Let’s hear them out. I want to know what it is they wish to discuss.”
“Peter, come on! Why are you letting her manipulate you into getting her what she wants? I thought you were the smart one. We agreed not to infringe on each other’s territory.”
Peter gives him a scowl and faces him with a dominating aura. “Are you questioning what I said? I know what we promised, and I’m not going back on it, but I said I want to hear them out first. She’s not manipulating me to do anything. Watch it.” He doesn’t back down even for a second, and Adam averts his eyes.
He lets Veronica go and glares spitefully at Peter. “When you grow your balls back, you know where to find me.” He sulks out of the apartment and into his own, slamming the door.
Peter sighs heavily. He looks back at Nai. “Let’s make this quick. I hope this is something significant because I really shouldn’t have interfered with his wishes. I told him she was his to do with as he pleased.” He sits down on the sofa and kicks his feet up. “So, what is it that you wanted to discuss?”
Nai sits on the other end beside his feet and Veronica sits in the adjacent armchair. She gives Veronica a nod to confirm she’s ready, and then turns to Peter. “Well, after getting a chance to speak with Veronica and get better acquainted, she revealed to me that she’s nearly six months pregnant.”
Adam’s eyes widen and his gaze suddenly shifts to Veronica’s stomach. It’s not noticeable, especially under Nai’s clothes that are a bit big on her, but to help him, she raises her shirt just above her navel. He gets up and places his hand against her stomach, which is slightly raised and hard. It’s not fully pronounced yet, but it’s clearly a baby bump. He steps back with astonishment. “I can’t believe we hadn’t noticed.”
“Well, to be honest, it’s not as though you or your brother were focused on that part of me. It could have easily been overlooked as a bit of flab.” She speaks low and cautiously.
Peter can’t help but smile slightly. “Well, I suppose you do have a point.” He sighs and sits back on the sofa. “Well, this was unexpected, but what are you expecting me to do about it? Don’t tell me you’re going to ask me to let her go Nai. You’re smart enough to know why I can’t do that, as unfortunate as it’ll be to send her back to my brother in this state. Not to mention what we’ll need to do once he’s had his fill of her.”
His words hang heavy, as they all understand what he means. Nai then replies, “I understand that you have a process and must stick to it. I also understand that it’d be impossible to ask you to let her go and trust that she wouldn’t tell anyone. As undesirable as this situation may be, she understands as well as I do that she has to be willing to compromise. Just as I’ve chosen to stay by your side and make the best of it, she’s willing to do the same.”
“Ok, and how exactly do you propose she does that?”
“If you’re willing to promise her shelter and a safe place to raise her baby, she’s willing to work for us. She’ll do anything you request of her; she just wants to provide a decent life for herself and her child. So, I propose that we make her our live-in maid.” He glances at Nai. “It’d be nice to have help with our own babies too, so she could also be our live-in nanny. That way, when I do have the opportunity to return to school and start working, our children will have someone they already know, and we can trust to care for them. She won’t even ask for pay.”
Peter sits back and thinks it over. While the plan is clearly a desperate attempt to have that woman’s life spared, he can’t deny that Nai makes some good points. Having help around the house to take care of meals, cleaning and childcare would be beneficial. Not having to pay anyone, as well as not needing to worry about an outsider coming across his shady business dealings; it all would be avoided if he uses this woman, as she already knows and is sworn to secrecy. It would allow Nai a bit more freedom too, which he’d truthfully like her to have, and give her a break. He glances at Veronica.
While it wouldn’t be something he’d openly admit to Nai, it would be nice to have her on standby to assist with his impure needs as well. She did well when he had her for the first time, and he must admit that he still has a yearning for that feeling again. He wasn’t exactly sure how he’d mange those urges once he left this all behind, but Nai may have unknowingly just offered him the perfect solution. Of course, he’d feel bad about not being exclusively loyal to just Nai, but he’d make sure to keep her satisfied in other ways, so she wouldn’t feel too betrayed if she were to find out. Though truthfully, she won’t have much of a choice but to stay with him regardless, as she won’t ever be willing to leave her children behind and he’d never be willing to let them go. It’s the perfect bargaining chip, which is why he’s trying so hard to make it happen.
Nai watches him as he thinks it over seriously. She can see his lips curl into a slight grin, and she knows he’s taking the bait. While the proposition of having free household labor is appealing, she knows the true intentions he holds behind his willingness to agree to it. As if she’d have ever believed for a second that leaving this place behind would somehow cure his affliction. No matter how much he may have wanted to convince her, she knows he’ll never be able to stop indulging in his impure desires or his urges to defile the pure. He fully intends to use her as his personal sex slave and that’s exactly what she was hoping for.
Finally he sits upright and faces Nai again. “Ok, I think you make a fair point, and I honestly wouldn’t feel right killing an innocent baby that never asked to be born from such an impure mother.” He turns to Veronica. “I do hope you truly understand the gravity of this choice, however. Becoming our personal housekeeper means that your life won’t be yours again. You’ll never be able to do anything freely and will be obligated to do anything I demand of you. Trying to go against me at any time would be dangerous for that child, as I won’t be opposed to using it to make you yield should you try and step out of line.”
Veronica nervously replies, “I understand very well that my life is over, but if I can at least ensure that my child will have a good upbringing and have the opportunity for a better life than I did, then it’ll be worth it. This is all I’ve ever wanted.”
He stares at her for a few moments, and she returns his gaze weakly. Having decided that she’s sincere enough, he stands. “Ok then, I guess I’ll have to break the news to Adam then. He’s not going to be happy.”
“Damn right I’m not!” Adam suddenly storms back into the apartment. “What the fuck Peter? Did I really just hear this conversation right? Are you stealing my toy from me?!”
Peter wears an annoyed expression. “If you were going to eavesdrop, you might have well as stayed.” He sighs, “Yes, you heard correctly. I’m sorry, but I’m relieving her from you. I’ll get you another one by next week. I’ll make sure she’s a really good one too, it’ll be my parting gift to you.”
Adam yells with rage. “Fuck your fake generosity! I don’t want your cheap fix.” He stares him in the eye. “You’ve changed Peter, and I don’t think I can respect you anymore. Not until you get rid of that stupid bitch.” He points at Nai. “Can’t you see she’s destroying everything?”
Peter grabs Adam by his collar and shakes him aggressively. “Don’t you dare call her a fucking bitch! Don’t forget that she’s my woman and she’s not making me do shit! I’ve said that already, so don’t you make me say it again. Now go back to your hole and stay there. I don’t want to see your face again today.”
Once he releases him, Adam snatches himself away from him. He shouts, “Fuck you Peter! I’m not going to listen to your orders anymore! You’re not the boss of me!” He stomps through the door and starts for the stairs, but Peter pulls him back. “Let me go you fucking traitor!”
Peter slams him against his door and roughs him up a little. “Stop acting like a spoiled child then!” They begin to tussle, and as Peter slams him against the wall harder, he holds his head and says, “You’ll never be able to win against me, so yield.”
Adam stops struggling and relaxes his body, appearing to have conceded. However, as soon as Peter lightens his grip, he headbutts him, making him stagger back and leaving him with a bloody nose. “You only want her now because you think you’ve got a free pass to fuck her behind Naomi’s back.” He glares at Nai now. “Don’t get too comfortable bitch, you’re just as disposable as the rest and you’re going to regret it.” He enters his apartment and slams the door.
Peter stares down with a furious expression and clenched fists. He’s pissed and extremely frustrated. He glances at Nai. “Ignore him Nai, he’s delusional. I’m committed to you, ok?”
She places her hand on his shoulder. “I know, I believe you. He’s not my biggest fan, so I know he’d say anything to cast doubts. I’m not going to fall for them though.” She smiles.
“Thank you baby.” He hugs her affectionately.
“Oh, I never went to clean up your mother’s dishes or check on her after her meal. Would you be ok with doing it?”
He runs his hand through his hair, obviously not in the mood to bother with her tonight, but he sighs, knowing it’s his burden to carry, especially since Adam is stewing in his anger now. “Yes, I’ll do it. In the meantime, why don’t you run us a nice bath? I want to relax and enjoy the night together before I must get back to the grind tomorrow. It’ll be my last week with my current team, but we have training and a few games all week, so I won’t be back until late every night.”
“Of course honey, I’d love that. What about Veronica though? Where is she going to stay? Not back with Adam I hope?”
He thinks about it momentarily. “No, she can stay in the apartment with mother. Mother never leaves her bedroom, so she can stay in the living room and sleep on the sofa.”
“Would that be fine with you Veronica?” Nai asks her.
She nods. “I’ll take anything if it means I don’t have to take another step back into the beast’s apartment.”
“It’s settled then. I’ll come fetch you after I’ve gotten mother settled.” He leaves them and enters her apartment quietly.
Nai watches with a slight smirk. She gives Veronica’s hand a gentle squeeze to reassure her that things are going smoothly, and she returns a slight smile. “It’s going well. After tonight, you’ll be in the clear,” Nai whispers to her. The fire has been lit, and now they’re going to watch them burn.