Fuming, I paced the room hastily. Ridiculous, it was all so ridiculous. Would there be any end to this nonsense? They have always controlled every aspect of my life and I have never questioned them. But what more do they need from me? After snatching away my whole life, now they want to trade my soul? Their own freaking daughter's?
Teeth gritted to the point I was sure they would snap at any moment, my brain recalled the events of the day. The memory was still fresh in my mind about how I was rooted to that spot in front of a full-length mirror with half a dozen of beauticians working on me. My mother, sitting on an Italian royal chair, scrutinized me with her hard and judgemental stare.
The high chirping sound of Mother pulled me out of my haze, "Ms. Jane, take out that midnight blue dress. Ashley is going to wear that today." Ms. Jane immediately started moving around the piles of fancy, jeweled, and designer dresses surrounding the room.
Turning towards my mother, I inquired curiously, "Why? Is today a significant day?"
She threw me a disappointed look, "Only if you would poke your nose out of your books then you would remember any other thing. I told you today is a big day. Your father has arranged a dinner for top-notch businessmen in the hopes to find a new business partner."
It felt like the carpet was slipped away from under my feet. The day I had been dreading all my life has finally arrived and I was absolutely not ready for it. Even though I knew the answer I still asked her, "What do you mean by the business partner, Mother?"
She stood up and wiped her hands down her dress, "You are a grown-up now. We, as your parents have invested a lot in your upbringing. Now, it's the time for you to pay back." With that, she turned around, indicating that the conversation was over. Her next words were directed toward Ms. Jane, "That silver diamond necklace would go well with her dress. Make sure she would be ready by 7 pm. I don't want her to be late."
I heard her heels clicking on the marble floor as she made her way toward the door. I was stuck at my spot, staring at the door she just left. The blood that was frozen in my veins just a few moments ago was boiling now.
Still glued to my spot, over the bubbling of my blood, I heard the distant chatter of Ms. Jane, "Here is the dress. Oh, Ms. Ashley, you'll look elegant in this one." She stepped closer with the dress draped over her arm and I instantly took a step away. Ms. Jane shoved the dress towards me and announced, "Beauticians will be here at 5 pm. Don't be late."
When I made no movement at all, she looked down at her wristwatch with indifference, "It's 12:30 pm now. You have almost 4 and a half hours to come to terms with the situation. 4 hours are enough to mentally prepare yourself, I guess."
Now, back in my room, just those horrible flashbacks resulted in the adrenaline coursing through my veins and taking hold of my senses. Somehow, my body as well as my heart knew that it was the moment of fight or flight.
I neither had the energy nor the resources to fight off those monsters. So yeah, the flight was what I chose. Lunging around, I jogged toward the closet with rapid steps. Reaching the rack, I grabbed the most spacious handbag out of the infinite options.
The plan was already taking shape in my head and it seemed like my body was working on its own. Unzipping the bag, I started shoving a pair of jeans, a top, a mobile charger, and the little cash I had with me. Luckily, my instinct told me to slip a big pair of sunglasses and a cap into the side pocket.
Every cell in my body was so full of enthusiasm and determination. Before it could melt away, I quickly ordered Uber. Typing with shaky fingers, I instructed the driver to arrive some distance away from the villa. Without wasting another moment, I slid the bag over my shoulder and opened the bedroom door where I had spent the 22 years of my life but still, I had no will to glance back at the gold cage my parents had built for me. Poking out my head, I glanced either way and when found no one lurking around the hallway, I finally stepped outside.
Luckily for me, the party was being arranged on the front lawn and that meant most of the staff was there, busy with preparations. And considering the fact how much Mother was fussing over the party must be perfect, I knew that she would be there too, inspecting and scrutinizing every little thing.
With soft and hushed steps, I reached the back door. I was actually surprised when I finally made it there without anyone interrupting me. It was too good to be true but I guessed that destiny was with me that day. I stopped at the back door and whoosh out a quick breath. This was eternal, it was permanent. If I took even one step further, there would be no going back.
But I knew what I wanted. I knew it deep down to my bones. With a fervent zeal running down my spine, I heaved a heavy breath and stepped out of the back door. Without glancing back, I ran straight toward the direction where Uber would be waiting for me.
Running. I was sprinting at a speed more than I was capable of. My lungs itched for air but no, I kept running as if my life depended on it and it did, actually. After a while, I came to a sudden halt as my eyes spotted a black car parked at the side of the road and instant relief flooded my insides.
If I could recall correctly, my Uber driver was supposed to arrive a little distance away from there. But hell, whatever.
Once again, getting cruel to my muscles, I picked up my speed to reach the black, shiny car waiting for me. I wanted to stop for a moment to catch my breath but knowing Father, he would have already dispatched the army to find me.
As soon as I reached the car, I gripped the back door handle, jerked it open, and dashed inside. The very next second I froze at the spot and my eyes widened as I spotted two, not one, bodies in the driver's seat.
Gripping the leather seat, I took in the woman who, with wide eyes, was staring directly at me from her spot, which was actually the lap of a man. I ran my gaze down and saw that she was topless but gratefully, I was unable to see any of her assets because...yeah, because the man over whom she was glued, had his mouth stuck to her neck.
I shifted my gaze to the man clad in a crisp black suit. From my spot, all I could see was an enriched, black tattoo of a phoenix inked at the side of his neck.
He kept nuzzling her throat, planting kisses all over her skin as if nothing odd had happened just a moment ago. For him, whatever he was doing was the most important and from the demonic vibes he was oozing off, I sensed that my interruption wasn't welcomed at all.
I opened my mouth, all ready to apologize and get out of the car but no words bubbled up my throat. I swallowed hard as he turned his head and those devilish and dark eyes narrowed down at me. I noticed the way his sharp jaw twitched and his nostrils flared as he asked me in a rough, gravel voice coated with venom, "Who the fuck are you and what the hell are you doing in my car?"