The Perfect Wife

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Chapter Twenty-Four



The last thing I saw was the fear in Davian’s eyes before the man gripping my arm shoved me inside the limo. When the door slammed shut, I was staring at an arrogant man dressed to perfection, seething with confidence in his three-piece suit. Smoking a cigarette and drinking his whiskey like what just happened was an everyday event. I didn’t know who this man was, but that wouldn’t last for long.

“Who are you, and what do you want?” I demanded, afraid of what I might find out.

“Where are my manners? My name is Rui Salko. It is so nice to finally meet you, my sweet Reyna.” The scent of cigarettes and whiskey made my stomach churn as my name rolled off his lips.

Why didn’t I listen? I had never been so terrified in my life. I didn’t know the man who was sitting beside me, but he wasn’t my father. There wasn’t one thing to make me think he was. My mother must have been insane to love a man like Rui Salko.

“What do you want from me? I have nothing to offer you.” My anger replaced my fear, giving me the courage I needed to stand up to this man.

“On the contrary. You have more to offer than you think.” His hand fell to my knee, and his grip tightened, causing me to wince in pain. “You see… from the day you were born, I had laid your destiny out for you, and with the help of Mr. Cross, I can now proceed with what should have happened long ago. We can finally consummate our joining as husband and wife.”

“What are you talking about?” He had completely lost his mind. He was my father, not my husband. I would never marry a man like him.

Before he answered, he pulled out a legal-sized document and handed it over to me. With shaky hands, I took it from his grasp and unfolded it. The top of the document read ‘Certificate of Marriage.’ As my eyes moved down, the names Rui Antoine Salko and Reyna Ann Braxton appeared before me. It wasn’t possible. “This can’t be possible. I can’t be married to you. You’re my father.”

Rui Salko’s laughter filled the small space. “I assure you it is legal. What gave you the impression I was your father?”

My head was spinning. Everything I was told was a lie. I wasn’t sure what to believe anymore. The paper I was holding fell to the floor, and the tears began to fall. The certificate settled at my feet, staring back at me. Rui Salko and I were married. Davian had lied. He wasn’t keeping me away from my father; he was keeping me away from my husband.

As we continued to head out of the city, so many questions filled my mind. I couldn’t believe that I was married. If it was true what he said about not being my father, then who was? Where was my real father? How did Rui Salko fit into all of this?

So many questioned needed answers. Picking up the certificate that lay at my feet, I folded it up and handed it back to him, but not without asking, “Did you know my mother?”

As he took the document from my hand, his demeanor changed. “Your mother and I were very much in love, once.”

“Once?” I asked.

“She betrayed me, just like your father betrayed her. I don’t tolerate betrayal.” His jaw clenched, and I could hear his teeth grind together.

“Her accident, were you a part of it?” I needed to know if he had anything to do with it. The way he grabbed my knee, I wouldn’t put it past him.

“From what I’ve heard, your mother made the wrong choice by driving that treacherous road at night. She shouldn’t have gone.”

His comment wasn’t an admission of guilt, but there was no doubt in my mind of his involvement. I wasn’t sure how far I could push him, but I had to see if he knew my father. “How well did you know my father?”

“I knew enough about him to know he couldn’t be trusted.”

What did that even mean? And where was he? Was he still alive?

“Is my father still alive?”

“Your father disappeared the day you were born. What he took from me was more important than Louise or his child.” He downed the rest of his whiskey, leaving me with more questions.

“He didn’t know about me. It was in my mother’s letter.”

“What letter?” His head twisted with hatred and disgust.

When I didn’t answer his question right away, he placed his hand under my chin and pressed his fingers hard against my jaw. “Answer me. What letter?

Holding back the tears, I said, “The one confessing her love for my father.”

The glass he held crashed against the leather panel that separated the back from the front. His anger made my heart skip a beat as I tried to move away from him. Adjusting his suit jacket, he took his gray tie between his fingers and twisted it back into place. Staring at the liquid dripping from the panel, he said, “There will be no more discussion of your father or that letter. Understood?”

In a child-like voice, I replied. “Understood.”

As we boarded a private jet, much smaller than Davian’s, I wondered where we were going. Before we got to what appeared an abandoned airstrip, Rui and said something to his driver in Russian that I couldn’t understand. Now that I was sitting in a leather seat, I knew it had to do with our destination.

The engines hadn’t roared, and already I could feel the tension in my body build. I had flown two times in the past week and a half, and I thought for sure my fear of flying would get better. It might have been the company, but my nerves were on edge more than ever.

Breathing in large breaths of air, I tried calming my nerves. Nothing helped. Either I would pass out or vomit if I didn’t get off this plane. Pushing from the seat, the airplane door was still open, and I could see that I was alone. Rui must have been taking to captain. The outside air had begun to clear my head as I stood inches away from the airplane door. Would it be that easy to escape? The tarmac came into view, and so did the burly man who grabbed me at the college.

Without touching me, he pushed me back inside the plane by walking towards me. The smile on his face was all I needed to turn around and go back to the seat I moments ago vacated. Taking a seat across from me, he looked up and said, “Buckle up,” in a strong Russian accent.

Before I could ask him where we were going, Rui stepped out from behind the door separating the cockpit and the main cabin. Taking a seat next to me, he fastened his seatbelt. His eyes met mine, and I was sure he noticed how uneasy I felt and the pale tint of my skin. When he rattled off something in Russian to the man across from us, the man quickly unbuckled his seat belt and walked over to a cabinet against the wall. My eyes were on him as he pulled open a door and pulled out a decanter filled with an amber liquid. Setting in on the top of the cabinet, he reached inside and sat two crystal glasses next to the decanter. After filling both glasses, he put the decanter back inside the cabinet and headed toward us. He handed a glass to Rui and then to me.

I didn’t care what it was, I held the glass to my lips and drank the liquid, feeling it burn my throat as it went down. Rui placed his hand over my hand that was still gripping the armrest. Turning his way, for once, I saw concern in his otherwise cold eyes. “You have always been afraid of flying.”

It wasn’t a question, but an affirmation. He knew, but yet here we were. Downing what remained of my whiskey, already I could feel my body relax. I wasn’t drunk but wished I was. Instead of admitting it, I asked, “Where are you taking me?”

“On our honeymoon. Canada is so nice this time of year.”

“Wait, I can’t go to Canada. I don’t even have a passport.” Having a passport was the least of my concerns, but I threw it out there.

“Ahh… but you do, my sweet Reyna.” His grin grew as he slipped his hand beneath his suit jacket and pulled out two passports.

My eyes widened with confusion as he opened one and then the other before handing one o me. As I opened the small blue book, I looked down at the picture. It looked like me, but it wasn’t. The name that went along with the photo wasn’t mine. It read Anya Salko. Just like our marriage, it was fake.

Leaning my head back against the headrest, the tears I tried so desperately to hold back fell. I wished I never went to GSU. As angry as I was at Davian for lying, I wanted to be back in his arms. But more than anything, I wished I wasn’t Reyna McCall or Anya Salko.

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