With Michael steadily advancing behind her, Zee ran along the common hall that held the doors to each of the halls holding a wedding.
She whipped passed the double doors of the entrance and the moment she was outside the Church, she took hurried steps towards her truck.
“Elizabeth!” she heard him thunder behind her but she neither responded nor turned back around. Instead, she fished for her car keys inside her purse, her hands trembling.
She managed to get a hold of the key and struggled to slide it into the keyhole between trying to open the car door and taking quick nervous glances behind her to catch a glimpse of an angry Michael storming towards her.
Her heartbeat had escalated. Christ! He was close…so close. Her hands fumbled frantically with the keyhole, her eyes round with fear.
Given her uncontrollable state of nervousness, she could not open the door on time and ended up turning around and backing herself against the car in dreadful surrender. She let her back hit the car and shut her eyes tightly as Michael reached her.
She was overwhelmed by his anger and earthy cologne as he closed in on her, covering the space between them and coming to stand intimidatingly close to her.
She thought she had stopped breathing until she felt her heartbeat slamming against her chest. Guilt and fear were terrible feelings combined.
“Please, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” She said frantically. “I’m really sorry.”
“Open your eyes.”
In her heart, Zee could liken the current sound of his voice to that of a rising storm.
“Please, I can’t.” she whined. “I can’t face you.”
“Open your eyes.” He repeated, his tone unchanged.
He watched her eye lashes flutter reluctantly and dampen, then slowly open to reveal large blue eyes that had welled up. The tears that had gathered in her eyes had begun slipping down her cheeks but she had her gaze glued to the ground.
“I’m sorry, please.” She whined again. “I really am.”
He remain unfazed by all her crying. He didn’t think he had ever been so mad at anyone in his entire life. He felt like he could commit murder right now and he was fighting hard to keep his temper under control.
“Look at me.” He commanded, his voice seething.
She sniffled and managed to lift her gaze, meeting the storm in his amber eyes. “Michael please.” She said pleadingly. “I’m really sorry.”
His look did not soften. “Why?” he demanded. “Why did you do this? I mean, why now?”
The thought of mentioning the dare frightened Zee because of his earlier warning not to seek him out to use him ever again.
“And I am tired of hearing that.” He snapped. “The question is why?”
“Be…because I…it was too late by the time I finally made up my mind to let you know and I…I didn’t know how else to go about it.”
“Perhaps, you think I’m stupid.”
“No, please. I’m telling you the truth.” She blubbered.
“Lies.” He said blatantly. “I remember what you did under the influence of that stupid daring game of yours. Tell me this wasn’t another episode.”
He watched her shake her head in denial but her gaze had returned to the ground. In that moment, he didn’t believe a word she was saying.
Zee could not bear to face him over the unpleasantness of the current situation. She felt his finger at the base of her chin, tilting it upwards and she was forced to meet his stormy gaze.
“Do not lie to me again.”
“Was it the game?” he questioned darkly, enunciating each word deliberately, his voice icy and vibrating with his eyebrows lowered and pulled together in fury.
“Yes.” Her voice was a nervous whisper.
His hand left her chin and he started pacing before her in a strangely calm manner and she could tell that a lot was on his mind. For one, he looked vengeful like one who was trying to decide the best way to deal with her.
Michael was going crazy. It seemed like ever since he met Zee, his life had never remained the same. It felt like she was always either using him or wasting her time misbehaving. He could not fathom the height of her recklessness. She was twenty-one now and it seemed like nothing had changed. He had tried to forget her and move on but she had resurfaced with more drama. He just couldn’t understand her penchant for thoughtlessness.
Who would have thought that she would ruin his wedding? Who would have thought that she would do it in such a dramatic and thoughtless way all because of a game? Gosh, it was taking all his will power not to wring her neck. He couldn’t deny the fact that he was feeling vengeful towards her.
He had warned her the last time she sought him out to prank him that he would make her regret it but it seemed like she wasn’t listening because she had just performed an even more reckless one. What did she take him for?
Michael suddenly faced her squarely again, his fury heightening. “Do you actually take me for a fool?” he hissed.
“I warned you not to test me again.”
“I didn’t mean to.”
Michael dragged his hand over his hair in an attempt to cool off but it wasn’t working. His whole body was vibrating with anger. His jaw was clenched and his nostrils flared outwards. He couldn’t control his anger. He would have to teach her a lesson. The lesson would have to be a long one. He wasn’t letting this go easily. She had to be punished, one way or the other. He would never forgive her for her constant disrespect and stupidity.
Now, his parents would say I told you so when they got to hear about the annulment of his wedding. All because of her stupid game. There was no way he was forgiving her easily. It was time to turn the tables. She enjoyed using him right? It was time for payback.
A thought entered his mind. He would not be able to deal with her to his satisfaction if she was going to be far from him. He wanted her close and the only way to do that was make her a part of his world.
He looked into her tear-filled eyes. “Elizabeth.”
Her response was a sniffle and her gaze had returned to the ground. Tears were still rolling down her face. Too bad, he would still definitely have to make her cry like she had never cried before. This was just the beginning. He was done playing nice with her. “Elizabeth.” He said again and she looked at him, her eyes clearly blinded by her tears. “I’m trying to forgive you but I can’t”
“I will do anything to have your forgiveness.” She told him.
“I’m sure you would, Elizabeth.” He said and closed in on her again.
“What…what can I do?” she asked tentatively.
She gasped, her eyes wide with shock. “What?” her heart was pounding incessantly.
“Be my wife.” He stated clearly.
“No…I mean, I…”
“It is the only condition for my forgiveness.”
“You trusted me to make you a woman, didn’t you, Zee?”
“I did it because my feelings for you have always been unmasked.”
“But you are not serious now, are you?”
“I’ve never been this serious.”
“But I…I just broke up your wedding.” Zee was confused.
“We are not going to discuss that.” He said dismissively and she shook her head.
“No to what exactly? You will do anything right?”
Zee caught her breath as she saw a bloody writing on the tinted window of a black car parked adjacent her. Marry Michael Ray it read.
“No please.” She said more to the last dare than to him. The writing disappeared.
“You have until the end of today to give me a positive response or I will get you to marry me in the mafia way and trust me, your parents will not be able to stop it.”
She gasped, her eyes like saucers. “Mafia?”
“I told you, you never really knew me. I was on my own when you came looking for trouble. Tonight, Elizabeth.”
Zee knew she was trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea. She was trapped between the game and him. Both were dangerous. Any moment from now and she might be looking older than her age again as a warning from the game. There was no need to waste time.
“No need for that.” She quickly said to him. “I will marry you.” Then she started sobbing anew as he drew forward and enveloped her in a hug. He could feel her body trembling against his but he remained stoic and could not feel sorry for her. He couldn’t let himself feel any pity for her. Enough was enough as far as he was concerned. He had had enough of her shenanigans. Zee needed some good drilling.
“Good answer.” He praised. “When you get home, tell your parents that you’ve found a man who understands you.”