Her heartbeat accelerated. She froze. For few seconds, she was dazed. Thinking clearly was not an option. The seven letter word – divorce, kept echoing in her head. Divorce. Divorce. Her brain went blank. Divorce? What does that mean? Was she hearing it for the first time?
“Too shocked to speak?” Ernest taunted. “You don’t know what you’ve got yourself into. He doesn’t love you. He will definitely end things with you. You are still the naive girl I met, still naive, you didn’t even notice that.” He took a step closer. He was sure his idea would not fail him. Research had done him a lot of good. Finding out so many things, he was going to make Melisa his or make her regret choosing Jeremy over him. He had nothing against his cousin, he just wanted Melisa and nothing more. He was going to fight for her till the very end. His Melisa. He took another step.
“Don’t come any closer,” she heard herself utter. She still hadn’t got him. What does divorce mean? Divorce. Jeremy was going to break their marriage after a year? She sighed deeply. This had to be another lie. Yes, it had to be a lie. Jeremy would never think of doing that, not when his mother’s last wish was that they get married. It couldn’t be true. Jeremy didn’t know anything about the wish, but he couldn’t be a liar. He tells the truth. d–n! She was too confused to think further, too confused. Her head was spinning.
“Melisa,” Ernest whispered, “I’d never lie or hurt you. I promised never to forget you and yes, I keep my promises. My whole life crumbled when you never returned. I visited that bar daily, hoping you’d come back, keep your promise, but you didn’t. I never stopped thinking about you or wanting you. I loved you and still do. I never stopped searching for you. I really want you, need you. Please, come to me.”
He heart went out to him. She couldn’t stop feeling pity for him. His words had an effect on her. She really couldn’t understand him. The first cold words he had spoken and his attitude cut her deeply and these last words were making her feel sorry for him. It was all puzzling. Her head began thudding. It hurt really bad. She wished he’d just disappear and take away those feelings with him. She took a deep breath and opened her mouth to speak.
Before any sound could come out, the door swung open and a male figure walked in. The look on his face was troubled. His eyes were piercing deep into hers. Each step he took forward only made her heartbeat increase. He wasn’t smiling, he wasn’t happy. His look was simply troubling. Yes, she had earlier wished him to appear and save her, but now she didn’t want him appearing yet. She had to know what Ernest meant by a divorce. Jeremy divorcing her after marrying her. It wasn’t a simple joke, it was serious. But what could she do, he had already come. She quickly closed her opened mouth.
Jeremy calmly took a step further. He was anxious. Something was really bothering him. Purity. He had to sort out some things with her. Meeting her with his cousin added to his worries. He knew Ernest would still bother her, but it was at a wrong time, he wasn’t composed, his feelings wasn’t in check. How the hell was he going to react? Arguing or fighting wasn’t an option. He had to keep calm.
His feet got planted to the ground when he had quite reached a considerable distance between them. He whooshed in a breath. Take things easy. “Ernest, what a surprise. I didn’t hope to find you here. How are you?” He smiled faintly. Those words were well constructed. That was good.
Anger. Envy. Bitterness. Hatred. Disappointment. All those emotions rushed through his bl0*d. He clenched his fists. His teeth, gritted. He had gotten her attention, her sympathy. His plan had almost worked out. She was soon going to be his. How dare him show up? This wasn’t the right time. d–n him! He was breathing heavily. Ernest was very furious because of Melisa! She was staring at him with dreamy eyes. The way she did that, she was to look at him that way and not his cousin. He couldn’t answer Jeremy’s greeting. He simply turned to walk away.
“Don’t go yet,” Jeremy ordered.
Ernest stopped his tracks.
Purity stood, watching the two men crazy over her. She prayed Jeremy would control himself, she never trusted Ernest.
“What did you come here for?” Jeremy questioned. His back faced Ernest’s back. Purity was directly facing him.
“To greet my in-law. Your wife,” Ernest replied through gritted teeth.
Jeremy smiled. “Why is that difficult for you to answer? You didn’t tell me you’ll stop by.”
His feelings were about to flare up. “How is that of concern to you?” he still faced the door.
“She is my wife, just as you said. And she belongs only to me. Please, stay away from her. I’m not going to go easy on you, next time.” He wasn’t harsh or hostile, he was calm and peaceful.
“Well, congratulations,” Ernest maliciously responded. He resumed his tracks. On getting to the door, he stopped angrily. “And, its great. She’s deflowered.” He stomped out of the office and slammed the door behind him.
The atmosphere between Jeremy and Purity was tense and extremely quiet. Their eyes were trying to read eachother. Purity stared at him hazel eyes, trying to read the expression on it. His eyes were narrowed to hers. ‘You hurt me again? I am disappointed in you. You are breaking my heart,’ was all she could read in those penetrating eyes. She doubted her accuracy, however, it was something close. Those eyes kept her on her feet. They weren’t moving, neither was her whole body. Only her brain functioned, reading Jeremy’s eyes.
“You don’t want to say hi to me?” he finally broke the silence, placing both hands in his pockets.
She opened her mouth, nothing could be heard. Her voice was lost. She still found it difficult to speak. What was happening? Her voice. Her voice. It was gone, Ernest!
“Have you lost your voice?” he asked in a strained voice. Sending Ernest out of her office wasn’t an easy task. He felt satisfied that it didn’t cause him much worry. Now, his head was thumping seriously. Purity was refusing to talk or she had lost the will to speak. An urgent issue was at hand and the last word Ernest mentioned put him on edge. Everything was just mixed up. The throbbing increased. “I really can’t talk here, lets go somewhere else.”
Purity nodded mechanically and edged nervously past Jeremy to the door.
The breeze gently caressed her face. Feeling it on her, brought her delight. She found herself thinking about Jeremy. She took a glance at him, then out of the window. His demeanor was unique. It really impressed her. The thought that he’d fight with his cousin or use unkind words at him filled her head when he had barged into her office. She was proven wrong. Jeremy had a great personality, it attracted her to him more and more. He was cool, really cool – just like her father. He must have inherited that nice attitude from his mother. She wished to have met and known her. It wasn’t a bad idea marrying Jeremy. Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Theodore made the right decision in choosing him for her. She smiled to herself. But was she right for him?
“Feeling good already?” Jeremy asked, breaking into her daydream. That radiating smile on her face lit up his heart. He had felt she was too sad to even smile and too angry to speak with him. He smile was sufficient enough for him, even though she hadn’t spoken. Her sadness was beginning to wear off. “Shall we go to the country house?” He hoped for a response.
She sighed and rested her back on the seat. She gestured with her hands, meaning that she had no worry if they went there or not.
Jeremy slowed down his vehicle. “Please, talk to me. Just make a sound. Please.” He frowned in a babyish way. It always worked on his mum, it had to work on Purity.
She cackled with kaughter. Aww, poor Jeremy. She was going to speak. She was going to make a sound. She was going to laugh much more – all to make him happy. “My lips just refused to open. They went on vacation.”
“Are they back yet? Or they’ll still go back?” Jeremy replied, laughing.
“You enjoy teasing me. Not fair.” She feigned anger and frowned.
“I’m glad you are back to your normal self and talking to me.” he turned to face her and flashed a wholehearted smile. “But before we have fun, there’s something urgent that we need to discuss.” He brought the vehicle to a stop, right in front of the Theodore’s country house.
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“Jeremy, you are scaring me,” Purity confessed her feelings as they walked into the quiet house. “What is this important issue we have to talk about?”
Jeremy remained unusually quiet. He had decided not to let her know a single thing till they were settled and ready for it all. He guessed it was going to blow her mind. Why did he still doubt her? Her feelings towards him. She had just mentioned she loved him only once. Was then even sincere, ’cause she fainted after that confession. Did she really care about him? Would she actually prove that she does? He continued pondering over Purity and her feelings and kept asking himself questions that only she could provide the answers to. This relationship’s really difficult. Why are things this way? Not when he had found the right person. At times, life could be unfair, he thought to himself.
Jeremy felt a slender arm holding his hand, forcefully turning him to faced the person. It was Purity’s arm. She was enraged as well as bewildered at him bizarre behaviour. “What is wrong?” she yelled, “Are you trying to tease me again? Why are we here? Why aren’t you talking to me? What in the name of God are we here to talk about?” Her eyes kept searching his face. A clue was all she needed. She couldn’t understand what was going on.
“You really want to know why we are here?” he asked in a mild way.
Purity rolled her eyes and sighed. She placed both hands on her waist. “Of course! Yes, I want to know.”
“There are some things I found that interested me,” he paused and stared deep into her eyes. He searched for the truth in them.
Her entire body shivered under the gaze of his overwhelming eyes. She battled to hold his stare. She felt nervous and uncomfortable. Had she done something wrong again?
“Why….why,” the words seemed to get stick in her throat, she had to force them out. “Would…….please stop giving me that kind of look, I don’t like it.”
He ignored her statement. “Go over to the round table, you’ll find what really got my attention.”
Purity dropped her hands unconsciously and gawked at Jeremy. She was unsure of what do do. Either she scold him for not getting to the point or obey his command. After hesitating for a few seconds, she gave a weary sigh, shook her head and trudged towards the table.
BANG! It was the third vase he shattered in pieces. His anger had risen, up to a level that no one will be able to calm him down, not even himself. He had managed to get a hold of himself while driving home. Right now, he had lost it. He poured dejectedness on the poor, innocent vases in his living room. There was no way he could stop himself from being violent. To well with Jeremy Broderick! Who was he to give him orders? The imbecile had instructed him to stay away from Purity. Melisa. Who on earth gave him that right? Now, he regretted regarding his Melisa as the wife of his cousin. He regretted that so much. Melisa belonged to him and no one else. He’d forgive her, forgive her for letting Jeremy bed her, just once. But for the years to follow, she’d just be his and his alone. He had to act fast. He could feel her slipping off his fingers. That wouldn’t happen. No! It wouldn’t.
Furious, he smashed another vase against the wall. Panting, he collapsed on a couch. “Melisa!” he called out, painfully.
“Have you been drinking?” Tricia questioned the devastated Ernest who held the door open and blocked the doorway. His appearance was unpleasant and irritated her.
Ernest stood motionless, gazing at Tricia. He couldn’t find the will to make a sound. He had spent few minutes weeping over his Melisa and drinking. He had never wept for a lady, this made him determined more than ever to make Melisa want him, need him, crave for him, desire him more than anything else. The good dreams he had after dozing for five minutes made him at peace.
Tricia was annoyed at his unreasonable silence. She hissed angrily, “If you are not going to reply me, at least move away so I can enter. If I’m not needed, I can head back to my apartment.”
He cooperated. He moved aside and let her pass through. When she was inside, he shut the door and went to join her in the sitting room.
“What happened in here?” It was a mess.
The living room was a complete mess. Broken pieces of glass littered the whole room. Empty bottles clustered in a spot and filled bottles and glasses lined up on the table. The sofas were disarranged and an arm chair was upside down. An unpleasant smell filled her nostrils as she walked around the room. That made her cough. It was vomit. They sight of it almost made her puke too. She controlled herself and turned her eyes away immediately. She faced Ernest with a serious look on her face. “Was there a fight in here? What happened?”
“He took her away from me,” he responded sadly.
She couldn’t get it. “Who took who away from you? How does it have to do with the state of your house?”
He shook his head miserably. “I don’t expect you to understand. You can never understand. I think I’ve lost her, she’s left me for now. She’s with my cousin. It really hurt me.”
Tricia rolled her eyes. “You vented your anger on your valuables at home? You broke them in pieces and got yourself drunk? What good have it done you, huh?” She folded her arms.
He threw himself on a couch. “The anger and pain, I no longer feel. I’m gonna get her back.”
“And how do you plan on doing that? In your drunken state? I doubt that.”
“You’re mistaken. I’m not drunk. I’m perfectly fine.”
“I can see that,” she sneered. “Listen, I’m not comfortable here. I can’t stand the smell neither can I stand stepping on broken bottles. If you want to talk to me, get dressed and lets go somewhere else, I’ll be waiting outside.”
“Where did you get these from?” Purity asked. This was unbelievable. Only her had access to these letters that were written years ago. How did Jeremy come to have seen them? Who let him have them? It wasn’t possible.
“Surprised, my princess?” Jeremy remarked, standing above Purity.
“Just give me an answer! Where did you get these d–n letters from?” She was already raising her voice. This was of serious concern to her and Jeremy seemed less concerned about it. It wasn’t fun.
He had imagined her getting paranoid. “Calm down. You don’t have to yell at me.” He smiled grimly and joined her in squatting. His eyes caught a note on the table. He picked it up. “Here, I love this one. It says, ‘Last night, I hugged my pillow and dreamt of you…….. I wish that someday, I’d dream about my pillow and I’d be hugging you- Divine.’ Its really cute, don’t you think so?”
Purity bit her lips hard. The letters she held fell off her hands. She dug her right palm into her left palm and tried gulping down her tears. All this, she had forgotten. She was done with them. Why resurface? It was good as dead. “Jeremy, please stop,” she nervously whispered.
“This one’s also captivating,” he picked up another note, “‘I wrote your name on the sand, but the waves washed it away. I wrote your name on my hand, but it washed the next day. I wrote your name on a paper, but I accidentally threw it away. I wrote your name on my heart and forever it will stay.’” He sucked in a breath. “I’m beginning to feel jealous, wishing I’m Gerald. That feeling must be really nice and refreshing.”
Purity met his gaze. She saw flashes of anger and pain in them. This was why he had that troubled look on his face. Things were just getting complicated. She felt as if she was not meant to be in any relationship. She wished to stop hurting him with her poor decisions and poor memory. It would be better if she were still single. She’d not hurt anyone emotionally. “You are misunderstanding the whole thing. Its not what you think. Please, listen to me.”
“Why did you lie to me?”
The question cut her deeply. Lie to Jeremy? She had never lied to anyone. She hated lying, she detested the act so much. Why would she do that to someone she cared about so much? This was going too far. “Lie to you? I never lied to you. What did i lie about?”
“You’re still asking me questions when the answers are right in front of you? You wrote several love notes to different guys while you were still in high school. You had high school sweethearts.”
“No! That’s not it. I wrote these letters but not to anyone in particular. Did you not hear my story?”
“I did. And that’s why I said you lied.”
Tears formed in her eyes. “I did not lie to you. All these are in my past and you said the past is gone, please let it go.”
He took a deep breath. “If it were only in the past, I’d not be bothering you. But it includes the present. You recently contacted Gerald and you two are seeing eachother.”
Jeremy’s last sentence struck her. It felt like she was stabbed with a very sharp dagger. She’d have preferred the physical pain to the emotional pain. It really hurt bad. At that moment, she wondered who was lying to who – she or Jeremy? Nothing of what he said was the truth. Who could have done this? Who wanted to hurt her this much? Whoever it was, was really getting what he wanted. And what pained her more, was the fact that Jeremy had seen the lies as truth and accused her of them – what she hated so much.
“I do not know any Gerald. I don’t know what you are talking about.”
She had the audacity to tell another lie to his face? She had been caught, she ought to speak the truth and ask to be forgiven. But she’s trying to defend a lie. He knew he was blunt and hard on her, but that was they only way he thought the truth would come out. He really had to know. He disliked lies and those who deceive people. “Cut that crap. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Why did you do this to me? You threw dust on my eye and expected me not to find out? Purity, I trusted you with all my heart.” He stood up.
“Oh, no you didn’t trust me,” she fired back. “Please, get me outta here, I got to get back to the office.” She got on her feet.
Her response angered him. “You are not running away from this! I demand an explanation.”
She gave a strained laugh. “I don’t think so. You don’t deserve any explanations since you’ve already made up your mind and have drawn conclusions about me. Let me go!”
“Oh, yes. I have made my conclusions already, just prove me wrong. You gave me no other choice. I’ve always had to put up with your past. When will all these end?”
“You’re not sounding like the Jeremy I know. When have my past become an issue? I thought you didn’t care about it. That you wouldn’t judge me. Its gone and gone forever.” Her vision was blurred. “I have never imagined you’d stoop so low to believe all this.” She used the back of her hands to dry her tears.
He was hurting her, but still he had to get to the point and make her confess. “I’m sorry I’m making you feel bad. Yes, I don’t care about your past, but you keep lying to me, you d-”
“I did not lie to you!” She was not going to choose her words this time. She’d say whatever she feels like. “You saw all these and believed I had high school sweethearts? And you accuse me of being in contact with one? What proof do you have, where did you get it from?”
“Tell me you didn’t write them.”
“I’m not a liar. I did, I wrote them. I want never involved in a relationship with any guy at school because I didn’t want to get hurt. I was afraid of giving my heart to anyone. And yes, I got jealous seeing my friends have fun with their boyfriends. So I created imaginary boyfriends for myself. I had fantasies. I made up names and wrote letters. It was a secret I shared between my friends and I. It made me feel loved, loved with no sadness. That’s why I made these notes to my imaginary lovers!”
“I don’t believe you. What kind of dirty game is that?” A part of him believed her, the other part did not. He was divided.
Purity flared up. “Who are you to question my past decision? You are claiming to be a saint. Aren’t you planning to divorce me a year after our marriage? You just want to use and dump me! Because I’m a virgin? I hate you for this, Jeremy.”
“I am not planning on divorcing you. Yes, I had wanted to. It was what my dad used in cajoling me to court you.”
“You’re a jerk! A d–n liar. I’m out of here.” She turned her back on him.
He caught her hand and turned her to him. “Tell me the truth. Why did you agree to this marriage? You want me among the list of men you’ve broken their hearts? Just like my cousin, right?”
“I would never have agreed to this. I did it for your mother.”
“My mother, what do you mean?”
“It was her last wish that I marry you!”
“No, no,” he whispered. It can’t be. He left her staring at the wall. He got outside trying to get a hold of himself. His mother had wanted him to be with Purity? Why hadn’t he known? His mother never mentioned her and his father never did till that very day. Why was this kept from him?
A loud scream caught his attention. He had left Purity all alone! He ran back into the house, he couldn’t hear her scream anymore. She wasn’t there. “Purity! Purity! My love, where are you?”
There was no response. He heard muffled cries. He was sure it was her. He was so confused and couldn’t think clearly. He searched the entire living room for her. There was no trace of her. He felt as if a part of him had been stolen. He dug his hands into his pocket and brought out his cell phone and tried dialling 911. The next thing, a bottle was smashed on his head, he fell to the ground, hitting his head hard on the floor and everything went blank. BLACK OUT!
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