Chapter 7 - Secret Box
Over the next few days, I didn’t speak much with Jazer.
“Luzena, why won’t you tell me about your encounter with Shalena? Is she your sister or not?”
He sat beside me on the sofa.
“I need something from you,” I turned to him, sadness written on my face. “I know it’s wrong, but there’s something I want.”
“Anything,” he said. “Just name it.”
“I want the box. The real box,” I said. “I want to know what’s in it.”
For a moment, Jazer just stared at me. Then he looked away.
“I can’t give you the box,” he said finally.
“Then I can’t tell you about my encounter,” I stood up and walked away.
This marriage was turning into a nightmare. We barely talked to each other anymore. I reminded myself that I was here to be Jazer’s guard and protector. But the truth was that I wanted more from the marriage. I wanted it to be a marriage based on love and not just a guard protecting her charge. I longed to have a real husband; someone I could truly confide in.
“I feel like you don’t trust me,” he said. I turned to him.
“You’re right, I don’t,” I gave him a hard gaze.
“But why?” he pleaded. I heard the pain in his voice.
“You know why,” I said. “It’s because you won’t tell me about that box. Seriously, what is so important about the box?”
“I’ll tell you eventually,” he said.
“Why later? Why not tell me now?” I asked.
He looked at me solemnly, then quietly left the room.
That evening, we got into bed and turned off the light. We usually didn’t talk to each other but just remained silent until we fell asleep. But I could sense Jazer was restless.
“What is it?” I asked.
“I thought about what you said, and I wanted to ask you something,” he said.
“Go ahead,” I said.
“I’m hoping this marriage can be more than just a contract. I was hoping we could become true friends and trust each other and all that,” he said.
“I want that too,” I said.
“I can’t trust you if you keep wanting to see that box,” Jazer said, a hard edge to his voice.
“I want to find my sister!” I quickly sat up and glared at him. “She’s the only blood relative I have left!”
Jazer sat up as well. “We’ll find her,” he said. “Don’t worry.”
“Shalena knows where she is,” I said.
“But she didn’t tell you?” he asked. “And what does the box have to do with your sister?”
“She wants the box in exchange for telling me where my sister is,” I said.
“What does she know?” Jazer asked.
“She might be my sister for all I know!” I said. “I’m so close, yet so far.” There was a pause.
“Okay,” Jazer sighed. “I’ll give you the box.”
I turned to look at him in shock.
“You will give me the box just so I can find my sister?” I asked.
“Of course,” he said. “I promised you I’d help you find her. And this is a good opportunity.”
“But what about your title and inheritance?”
“I’m as curious as you about the box and your sister,” he said.
“Why would you be curious about the box?” I asked.
“Because I’ve never opened it,” he said. “I don’t know what’s inside it.”
“Are you serious?” I asked. “Don’t you want to know?”
“I’m afraid to know,” he said.
“Afraid? What for?” I asked in disbelief.
“When my uncle gave me this box, he said it would forever change my life. So I don’t know if it will change my life for good or bad. He said it would show me my future and that my future was up to me.”
“I see,” I said. “That doesn’t sound so bad. Perhaps he meant it would show you other options or another path to take that you hadn’t even thought of.”
“You’re right,” he said. “Let’s worry about that tomorrow.”
There was a pause as he looked at me. “May I kiss you good-night?”
“Sure,” I said. I couldn’t see well in the dark, so I slowly put my hand to the side of his face and leaned in, my heart racing. I lightly touched his lips with mine, then blushed. I couldn’t believe I had just done that! Jazer slid his arms around me and gave me a warm hug.
“Good night,” Jazer whispered, then let go.
“Good night,” I said, dazed.
The next night I went to find Shalena. She appeared in front of me in a dark alley, wearing a dark hooded cape once again.
“Luzena,” she said with a smile, pulling her hood back. “It’s good to see you again.”
I pulled out the bundle I had.
“I hope you’ve brought what I’ve been searching for,” she said.
“Actually, I have something else,” I said. I held out a box towards her and she came closer and opened the lid.
“It’s a dagger,” she said, her voice disappointed.
“It’s not just any dagger,” I said. “It’s my most prized possession.”
She took the dagger out and inspected it, then placed it back in the box.
“It is indeed a very worthy dagger, but it’s not what I’m looking for,” she said. “Why have you brought this?”
“I was hoping I could trade this instead,” I said. “It doesn’t feel right to me to take Jazer’s box.”
“I should have been truthful with you,” she said. “There’s an important document in the box that I desperately need.”
“Why do you need it?” I asked.
She came closer to me. I was still trying to figure out if she was my sister.
“That is my business,” she said. “Also, I’m not trying to sabotage him. I just want what’s rightfully mine.”
“Then why did you sound so threatening in the note you sent?” I asked.
“I suppose I may have been a bit dramatic,” she grinned, then sobered up and looked at me intensely. “I swear to you that I don’t mean Jazer any harm.”
Now I was conflicted. Whom should I trust? Shalena the mystery woman who might be my sister? Or Jazer, the person I had married through a quickly arranged marriage?