Ernest fed her till she was drunk, really drunk. Purity didn’t know what she was doing anymore. She felt her head spinning, she was unable to think clearly, she felt dizzy as well. She had no idea what was happening to her or around her. She had stopped taking in more drinks from Ernest. She kept to herself and was muttering incoherent words.
Smiling to himself, Ernest decided to take advantage of the situation. “Why are you here?”
She belched loudly and continued talking to herself. “They left me, they betrayed me. They made me feel bad. All because of guys. What’s with them? They come to play with my friends feelings and they’ve separated us.” She had a worried expression on her face. “Papa is not like that. He loves mama a lot. But he’s so controlling,” She scoffed, “He never lets me do what I want. And my brothers, so, so crazy, always making me feel like a child. I’m-”
“Melisa,” Ernest called sweetly interrupting her. He turned her face to him. “What are you saying? Stop talking to yourself, share it with me.”
Purity looked at him in disgust. A whitish substance flew from her mouth and landed on his face, his left eye. “I hate you. Just leave me alone!”
He couldn’t understand what she just did. “Why did you spit on me? And you hate me? Its not possible. What wrong have I done?” He wiped it off his eye.
“You and all your kind. You are all manipulative. You mock people, control their lives and take their feelings for granted. I hate you all. Males, boys, men – you all take advantage of women. You ruin their lives.”
He understood it all. She was opening up, telling him what made her come to drink. Someone hurt her and now, she doesn’t want to have anything to do with men. He had to know more. “I agree with you. They’re heartless.”
Now, that surprised her. He took her side or what? Her head, she wasn’t thinking straight. “I don’t have friends. They took my friends from me. They don’t have respect for me. They are stupid.”
“Come on, Melisa. Forget about them, hate them, never want to be with any of them. But always remember me. I will take care of you. Will be your friend, respect you and your feelings.” She could be innocent. She was drowning away her misery in alcohol. He was gonna help her do that.
“You won’t,” her voice had changed. The alcohol had taken its effect. It sank deep into her. Her eyes became watery and the tears freely fell. “Its all lies -”
“Stop it.” He took a bottle. “Have more, you won’t feel a pain. You will feel very good. They won’t hurt you anymore. I’m here.”
Purity took the bottle from him and drank it all. It seemed to take all her problems away. She grinned from ear to ear.
The music had changed. It was hip-hop and the lights grew dim. The dance floor was flooded with people- men and women, boys and girls. It was a fun night, Ernest really wanted to join them. “Melisa, lets dance away our pains.” He jumped off his seat and helped her down.
She staggered as he pulled her to the dance floor. The music was hitting her ear drums, driving her crazy. The entire place twirled in her eyes, the world was dancing. It excited her. She wanted to join them. She wanted fun. She isn’t abnormal nor old fashioned.
Her feet went off the ground and landed, it continued that way at intervals. She raised her hands to the ceiling and waved her head. Her body shook, her hips swayed this way and that. She was flowing with the music, following the crowd, feeling good. It was pleasurable.
Ernest joined and followed her dance steps. Soon enough, they were exhausted. Ernest tried planting a kiss on her lips again. He missed, she gave him her right cheek. He kissed, licked and sucked it. He went for her neck and playfully bit her.
She moaned roughly.
He so much loved that sound. He took her to a corner and continued playing with her body. He wanted to sleep with her. And have her forever. In her drunken state, she’d not have the power to resist him. He gave an evil grin.
“Yes, he tried to sleep with me. He almost had his way because I was so drunk. But then, he raised my gown and touched me, touched where he’s never supposed to touch. I don’t know what came over me, I felt pleasure and pain. I pushed him immediately and headed back to the counter. He came after me and wanted to know why I stopped him. I muttered words I can’t remember. He smiled on hearing those words and came closer to me. He tried kissing me, again. I emptied a bottle on his head.
” ‘I have to go,’ I told him. I gradually became conscious but I was still drunk. I don’t know what he gave me to drink.
” ‘Stay, we were just having fun,’ he tried persuading me. He was smiling and pulled me closer. ‘You don’t want to let me kiss you. You soiled my hair, I will forgive you for that, but please kiss me.’ He tilted his head forward. I pushed him back.
” ‘I will kiss you tomorrow night. I will be here,’ I promised him.
“That made him smile. ‘Promise?’
” ‘I promise,’ I repeated. ‘Ernest….’ I laughed hysterically and turned to leave. He caught my hand and pushed me closer to him. He smelt my hair. ‘I will never forget you, Melisa. Don’t fail me.’ He planted a kiss on my forehead. ‘You are beautiful.’
“I nodded and walked out. I still staggered. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I was feeling upset within me and very strange. Then, I felt something rushing out of my stomach and I puked. It was irritating and disgusting. I did that for about five minutes. I got to my car, but I couldn’t open it. It was all very confusing. I was acting like a crazy girl. I was sure it was past midnight, but I still wanted to go home.
“Someone came to me and offered to drive me home. I didn’t say no. He helped me into the can and he got in. My phone rang, he answered it and explained everything to my mum. He to me home. My parents thanked him, paid him money and instructed him never to say a word to anybody.
“They let me sleep that night. The following day, I woke up with a very severe headache. It was as if a bell was ringing in my head. It wasn’t easy to make it stop. I took some pills. I was able to recall all that had happened the previous night. I cried over it and wrote the details down. I regret it so much and felt like killing that Ernest. He hurt me, added to my pain. I felt very stupid. How ironical, I went there with the aim of hurting a guy and I was the one hurt in return. All my life, I’ve lived with that guilt and tried to erase it from my memory, but its still there. I couldn’t trust humans, I became my own world. That’s why I chose this life, to be all by myself. Don’t want to go through any phase of betrayal, hurt and pain all over.” She smiled weakly and looked him in the eye. “That’s what really changed me. My story.”
“Come here,” Jeremy opened his arms and let Purity in. He cuddled her and kissed her hair, forehead and nose. “It must have been really hard to go through all that alone. I’m sorry for all the pains he caused you and your friends turning their backs on you. I’m sorry I kinda misjudged and mistrusted you.”
All the sympathetic words of Jeremy gave her an unusual comfort and calm in her heart. Sharing her secret with him was okay. It felt like a burden had been lifted off her chest. It was really nice. His reaction made her relax more. She didn’t fear that he was going to reveal the secret to any person to hurt her or force her to be him- very unlike his cousin. Jeremy didn’t judge her or condemn her, he felt sorry for her, sorry that she had gone through a lot. It brought her peace. She had thought he wouldn’t understand, he’d hate her, but she feels he loves her more. “Thank you.”
“Darling, you are brave, you are a strong woman. You were able to escape him even when you were drunk, I believe he is after you again and you’ll put him in his place.”
She smiled. “If you support me.”
“Of course, I will.” He could see reasons why she put men out of her life. It was his d–n cousin! He felt remorse over the bad things he had thought about her. It was her past and all gone. This was the present and he was gonna do his utmost to protect her from his cousin. She was his and nothing was putting them apart. He had won her full trust and confidence. No woman had ever confided in him as she did and his love for her intensified, he admired her. “No one’s going to hurt you, again. I’ll always be here for you.” He smiled reassuringly.
Purity loved that smile of his as it set her heart on fire. It was warm, filled with calmness and love. Something she never felt for any man. How did Jeremy manage to win her heart? It was always cold and filled with hate towards men. Jeremy broke the walls she had built around it. It would be him and only him. “I appreciate your understanding. Its really comforting to me. Thanks for finding me. I might have done something horrible to myself.” She inhaled deeply, took his right hand and placed her lips on it. “I care about you too.”
Jeremy felt those electric sensations run over him. His heartbeat accelerated the moment she kissed his hand. He gave a big grin as the words she said to him sank into his head. This was the woman for him, he was totally sure, the woman he wanted to spend eternity with. “I should punish you for last night.” A smile flittered across his face.
“Punish?” Purity repeated. Those were not the words she wanted to hear and they were coming from Jeremy. She left his arms and faced him. Staring deep into his beautiful, hazel eyes. “I just said I care about you and you are thinking of punishing me? Please.”
The smile was replaced by an expressionless gaze. He tried his possible best not to laugh and not make any sign that’d make her notice. Deep within him, he felt like laughing at her. She took him seriously. He was gonna pay later on, he knew that.
“Jeremy, please,” Purity didn’t know why Jeremy was bringing punishment into this. What if the punishment was to call off the engagement? But he could never do that. Those eyes were unreadable, his gaze was stern. “OK. I’ll explain. He forcefully took me out there, then he said bad things about you. I was angry at him so, I slapped him on the face. He hurt me when he pressed his body against mine. It was frightening. He really-”
It was happening again. She had been stopped from talking. His lips were all over hers. Sucking out every bit of moisture from it. Loving the taste of them, the kiss was being deepened with passion, she in turn, responded. He pulled her closer, she clung to him, holding his neck.
“Dammit! Ernest!” Tricia furiously screamed into her phone.
“Will you stop screaming?” Ernest impatiently answered. “What is the problem?”
“You ask me what the problem is?” She retorted, flaring up. “We were discussing something really important and you walked out on me. Who does that? A sane person?” She angrily folded an arm.
Ernest dragged in a breath before replying. “It was urgent. If I did not get it done today, I was going to lose it.”
She snorted. “And what is more important than me?”
“It had to do with my business.” His voice was calm.
“Your business? Was that difficult to say before leaving?” She shook her head miserably. If she didn’t take things easy, she might end ip in a psychiatric hospital. She already felt like she was going insane. “Jeremy is still out there with Purity. I can feel it. What’s your plan? I can’t wait anymore. Really can’t. Don’t want your virgin girl to have any more of him, I want him back!”
“Please, calm down and take things easy. I can’t disclose any of that to you on phone. We’ll meet up tomorrow and discuss in details.”
Tomorrow sounded like seven years. It was too far, just too far. “No! Tomorrow’s not convenient for me. Lets meet now! I’m sure you are done with that business of yours. Meet me at that bar!” She demanded like she was his mother.
“Who are young give me orders? Gosh,” he sounded so irritated. “I can see why my cousin broke up with you, s–t!”
The line went dead.
“How dare you! Hello? Hello?” She pulled the phone from her ear. She looked at it and saw that the call had already been disconnected. “b—–d!” She slammed her cell against the wall.
“Tricia, darling,” David Cayson called. “Hasn’t Jeremy Broderick arrived?”
“No, father,” She tried to be calm. “Just called him, office duties. He’ll be here as soon as he’s done.”
“That’s great!” David replied excitedly. “Can’t wait to meet your fiance.”
“Did you like your punishment?” Jeremy drawled, excitedly.
Purity gazed at him dumbfounded. “You mean the kiss was the, my punishment?”
“Mmm-hmm.” He cackled with laughter.
“Jeremy! You scared me. You just wanted to tease me, right? Seriously?”
“You should have seen your face. You were about to cry. I should have taken a picture.” He was full of smiles.
“Is that so? You didn’t even listen to a word I said.” She thought of what to do.
He continued laughing.
She grabbed the glass she had earlier handed him and spilled the remaining content on his shirt. “Serves you right.” She got off the chair and ran off.
“I’m coming for you,” he called after her.
FEW DAYS LATER
“Ma’am, so you’d be resigning after your marriage to Mr. Broderick?” Heather asked with inquisitive eyes.
Purity laughed softly. “Yes. The distractions would be too much for me and I can’t work under him.”
“Distractions?” Heather repeated. “I don’t understand.” With squinted eyes, Purity scanNed Heather intently. “Who are you planning to share this with?”
Heather frowned and made a face. “I can keep secrets. I’ve learnt.”
“Really?” Purity was surprised. “Hmm,” She smiled. “You’ll wanna keep this one. Um, why can’t you concentrate when a man is around, you’re always carried away?”
“Because you love that man? Wait,” Heather thought silently for a while. “Oh,” She smiled in a silly way. “You are in love with Mr. Broderick and that’s why you don’t want to work under him.” She replied.
“Brilliant answer.” She liked that.
Heather immediately became shy. “Thank you, ma’am.”
Purity nodded and continued going over the paper work on Heather’s desk with a grim smile on her face. Ah, Jeremy. He was always on her mind.
“Are you really going to leave?” Heather blurted out. It hurt her to know she’d no more be the secretary of Miss Purity Theodore. Yes, she enjoyed certain privileges working with her, but that was not it. She had gotten used to her boss and was gonna miss her a lot. She was hurt at times, but she knew how Miss Theodore treated people. She wasn’t a bad person.
PUrity held Heather’s gaze. “Yes, I am. Are you sad?”
She nodded. “I’ll miss you.”
PUrity was touched, deeply. She had no idea Heather had become so fond of her. She was thinking she was tired of her. “I’ll miss you, very much.”
Purity dropped the papers and beckoned Heather to move closer to her. “Lets share a hug.”
Heather was startled. “A-”
Before she could make any more sound, Purity pulled her close and embraced her. “Thank you. Thanks for putting up with all my crazy acts. I’m sorry for that.”
Heather hesitated to hold Purity. After Purity had thanked her and apologised, she found the will to put her hands around her. “Thank you too, ma’am. You didn’t fire me.”
Purity laughed. “You’re funny. Papa never gave me that right to do that. I just used it to….you know….” She broke off, laughing.
Heather joined too.
They left eachother.
Then, the door opened and Ernest walked in, confidently. He had a smile on his face.
Purity met his gaze and returned his smile. She had nothing to be cared of. Ernest had lost and he was never gonna blackmail her anymore. “Heather, I’ve got to talk with this man.”
“Alright, ma’am. Be careful.” Heather didn’t like Mr. Turner a bit.
“This way, Mr. Turner,” Purity gestured and flashed him a mocking smile.
Ernest pretended not to have noticed that and walked towards the door leading to her office. What’s making her so bold?
“One more thing,” Purity said to Heather as she got near her door. She turned to face her, “How about taking a break and being my maid of honour?” She didn’t wait for a response, she turned and walked into her office. She left Heather staring at her back and then at her closed door, Heather’s eyes were dilated and her mouth, agape.
Purity plodded to her swivel chair after closing the door behind her. She sat down and crossed her legs. She faced the already seated Ernest. “What can I do for you?”
“You know why I’m here.”Ernest replied, flatly.
She tapped the fountain pen she had taken from the pen holder on her desk. “I don’t think I do. Please, let me know.” Purity didn’t care about time and she was willing to spend it playing games with him. Jeremy could come in and find them that way, it did not matter. She was at peace with him and he knew everything.
Ernest sighed deeply. “I have come to give you another chance to become mine or-”
“Or what?” She stopped him from talking. “What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to tell him what transpired between us nine years ago.” he threatened.
“Is that so?” She laughed sardonically. “What makes you think he’ll believe you? That was years ago. I’m a saint.” She rolled her eyes.
This is going to be tough, he reasoned silently. What happened to her? His brows furrowed. “You are not a saint. I know of someone else who is aware of the entire details.”
He thought it’d hit her hard. He’d soon have her in his cage and control her.
Someone else knew? Who could that be? Or he was trying to make a fool out of her? That would never happen. “I’m wondering why you and the person haven’t made any move. Are you scared of Jeremy, that he won’t believe you two?”
“Its for your own good. So, it won’t make you a bad person in his eyes. Can’t you see I care about you and your reputation?”
“Aren’t you already a bad person in my eyes? What you did that night was bad, really bad? I’m not stupid or naive anymore. I’m not sixteen anymore, I’m twenty-five and engaged to be married.” She stood up abruptly from the chair. “This would be the last time you’d walk into my office to tell me this trash, the next time you do so, I will not hesitate to walk you out. Please leave. Never come back to this place.”
He never expected her to talk to him that way. She was to be calm and try to reason out things with him. She had to beg him, plead with him and here she is, acting like his authority, telling him what not to do. He had to act fast. “You shouldn’t be talking to me like this. I only helped you that night. Wasn’t that what you wanted, to drown away your pains and that was exactly what I did. You should thank me that I agreed to be your only friend and confidant, I took your side, I didn’t disagree with you. What I did, was to make you happy.”
“Happy? Make me happy?” She was furious. “An unhappy teenager walks into a bar to get drunk, it isn’t the right thing to do, but she has to because she is driven by many emotions. The right thing you could have done like any other respossible man should is to stop me from drinking and take me home.” She paced around her office. “But did you do that? No, you didn’t, you wanted s-x that night? You really disgust me.”
He stood up to defend himself. “I wanted what every other man would want from you. You are very attractive. You know what courage I had to gather before I approached you?” He paused.
She was staring at him with blazing eyes. He ignored that. “I was really happy you even liked me and I wanted to know you more and have you forever.”
“You know why I was there, why I had pretended to like you? Was to break your hear, tear it in pieces and hurt you like you’ve never been hurt.” She shook her head sadly, “That didn’t happen. I was the one hurt in return. You hurt me and made me hate all me more and more.” A smile touched the corners of her mouth. “I’m happy I’m hurting you now, giving you all that you deserve. You deserve more than this, you b—–d!”
“You’ll give me all I deserve when you finally give yourself to me.” His voice was stern and firm. His eyes never left hers.
She started at him, startled for a few seconds. “You’re insane. You are sick!”
He went closer to her. “Sick with love, I really need you.”
She folded her arms and scoffed. She prayed, prayed that he’d come, come now at the right time and rescue her. She didn’t want to have anymore discussions with Ernest. His fearless approach only deepened the hatred she felt for him. He deserved to suffer, in jail and not confessing a stupid, unreasonable feeling – lust.
“I’m sorry I hurt you in the past. I’m here to make amends. Please forgive, me. I’ll understand you better. I’ll, please.” His brown eyes, pleaded.
She was determined not to agree to anything. “I’ll personally invite you to my wedding.”
“You’ll marry any man other than me over my dead body.”
She nodded and grinned. “My wedding,” she pointed to herself, “to your cousin, Jeremy is underway. We are still getting married. My being with you on my engagement night won’t stop us.”
He couldn’t believe that. “Impossible.”
“How would you feel if I told you that Jeremy already defiled me?”
“You are a liar. And if he did, he used you. He’ll definitely divorce you after a year.”
“Divorce? Divorce? What do you mean?”
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