FmD4FRX3FmXvDZXvGZT3FRFgNBP1w326w3z1NBMhNV5=
Your Ads Here
items

UNTIL I REALLY DO CHAPTER 3

UNTIL I REALLY DO CHAPTER 3
The nerves on the vile man! Sharon stumbled through the hallway and down the stairs, visibly upset by the man on his knees in the bedroom. If he thought for one second, that he could fool her into thinking he was anything other than a monster, then he darn right needed to think again! She wasn't sure she knew why he was desperate to prove this fact to her, but there was no doubt in her mind that it was for a sinister reason. Men were scum —all men were scum, including Matthew Steiner— and she was tired of being an object to be tossed over to the biggest scum. She paused once she reached the foot of the stairs, fully certain Matthew would come rushing down the stairs, grab her by the wrist, and tie her to his bed to keep her from escaping. There was no doubt in her mind he was just like Jenkins, and she was smart enough to know that she couldn’t get far enough from this luxurious building —she thought, her eyes slowly moving down the flower vase, to the oak table it was seated upon, to the finely woven rug underneath the table in the middle of the hall, facing the front door— before she would be caught and dragged back. Knowing it would only take a second for Matthew to show up, she waited by the staircase. She wouldn't play along with his silly game; if he was going to come for her, he would find her here, waiting for him. Perhaps marrying him would be less dreadful than marrying Jenkins? She hadn't smelled alcohol on him all day, and he seemed... different. Not nice or anything, but certainly a different kind of scum. Several minutes passed, her eyes shifting to look up the stairs once more —where was he? Frustrated, she let out a low growl —if he wanted to play this game, fine, he knew where to find her once he decided he was tired of acting nice. + ~*~ Matthew stared at the missive in his hands, the very sight of it sending a cold shiver down his spine —after much deliberation, I have decided to return home to work in the family's factory. It was a short, precise letter informing his father of his decision to return. While he said nothing of the reason for his decision, he knew his father would deduce for himself —his son not only failed at farming, but he failed at fulfilling his grandfather's condition for coming into his inheritance. Matthew especially felt like he failed at life, but today was the last day he had to come up with the money to pay his farm hands, as well as begin planting for the coming season. Before the day ended, he needed to send the missive. He didn't have the time to indulge in self pity. Folding the piece of paper perfectly until all four ends were pointy and lacking of any crease, he rose to his feet and shoved the missive in his breast pocket. Deciding to ride to town on horseback to deliver the letter in the post office, his mind wandered back to the blonde head he had almost gotten married to. He wasn't sure whether her refusal of his marriage proposal was a blessing or a curse, but he was certain if he wasn't under so much pressure to get married, he would never have looked at her twice. Not only did she have a big mouth, he wasn't sure he liked feeling the way he did when she was around —small and pathetic. The picture of her walking out on him the day before drifted back to him. He had remained kneeling for several seconds, a part of him hoping she would return. It was an odd feeling of rejection, annoyance and frustration. Deciding not to dwell on thoughts of her —for whether she knew it or not, she had played a significant role in helping to force him back under the controlling fist of his father— he simply kicked the side of the horse, forcing it to move faster. Town came into view a few minutes later. Pulling the horse to a halt by the post office, Matthew hopped down the side and tied it to a pole. He had barely taken the first step into the post office, when commotion from across the street, caught his attention. A man stood dragging a lady out of what appeared to Matthew to be a supply shop —he wasn't sure because he never went for supplies himself. Nana Lois wrote the list, he provided the money, and she did the shopping. The man wrapped his arm around the waist of the kicking lady, lifting her off of her feet. He turned around then, a frown immediately claiming Matthew's face the second he recognized who the man was. He also did not have to look to know that the woman he was now shoving inside the wagon, was none other than Blondie. * Sharon kicked with all her might, her fists connecting once in a while with Jenkins's bulky body, but it did nothing to ease his hold on her as he dragged her out of the supply shop. After leaving Matthew Steiner's farm the day before and he failed to come after her, she imagined her life had somehow returned to normal —her father was still a drunk loser when she returned home, and she was still the provider by the next morning. She returned to working in the supply shop, and a few hours later, she realized it was the worst decision of her life when Jenkins walked in to find her there. “Checked with the registry, says you ain't married to my old boss.” He said, after he failed to gain her attention with his feigned politeness, “even heard from an old co-worker that the boss might be leaving Ferndale.” Turning from him, Sharon made to go in the back. “Guess that leaves you to me, now, doesn't it?" He called from behind her. She paused in her tracks, the blood draining from her face. “Since the old boss don't want you no more, guess you're mine now, dolly, ain't it?” Jenkins paid no mind to Sharon's protests, neither did anyone else in the store seem to bother with the fact that she was being taken against her will. Tears sprang to her eyes the second she saw the vile wagon, causing her to fight hard and yell even harder. Something clawed around her lips, muffling her cry for help. “Shut up!” Her body was lifted off of the ground. “We are going to the courthouse right now!” She shook her head violently, her tears streaming down her cheeks faster. She wanted to yell for help, but even that seemed useless. Who would help her? Who would come to the aid of a girl whose father had willingly handed over to a man to pay the debts he owed? “Jenkins.” Matthew’s voice broke through her thoughts, and while tears blurred her vision, she could tell it was him for the very sound of his voice seemed to always put her at ease. Jenkins stiffened. “Mr. Steiner?” Good, it was him! She breathed in relief. “What's going on here? Put her down!” Matthew sounded very angry. She was immediately dumped on the ground, but because she hadn't been expecting Jenkins to comply with Matthew's demand, she staggered. Strong arms caught her before she fell to the hard pavement. “Yes, you better run, Jenkins!” Matthew's voice followed the loud scampering of Jenkins heels on the pavement. He turned to her, his gaze studying her teary face. “Are you okay, Blondie?” Tears fell unrestrained down Sharon's face, and knowing full well she wouldn't be able to stop them, she let them fall; no, she wasn't okay! She was a poor, wretched girl at the mercy of the town's drunks —Jenkins and her father. If Jenkins didn't get to her, then her father would. No honorable man would be willing to be affiliated with her less-than-honorable background by agreeing to marry her, and eventually she would be forced to settle down with a man as pathetic as her father, or as ruthless as Jenkins. Loud sobs drifted from her lips then. Leaning forward, she covered her face with her hands. “Hey,” something drew her forward, the smell of wet sand and hay immediately filling her nostrils. His arms curled around her, pulling her further against him. “Don't cry.” His command did the opposite —it made her cry a lot more loudly. “I will have Jenkins arrested if he bothers you again.” He smoothed her hair, the motion oddly bringing comfort to her. Slowly, her arms instinctively curled around his waist as well, her cheek pressing against his chest. A part of her wanted to stay in his arms for as long as was possible, for it was the safest she ever felt in a very long time. “Blondie,” he pulled away, to her disappointment. She stared up at him through her blurry vision, a thin line pulling his brows together in the center. “I have to go.” “Do you?” She blurted, surprising herself. He nodded, seemingly oblivious to the embarrassment she felt. “I must send a letter before the post office closes. It is to inform my father that I will be returning home to San Francisco.” His words felt oddly like a slap to her face. “What?! No, you can't leave!” There was no use pretending that she didn't need him. If he left, she would no doubt be Jenkins's wife in a week. He was the only one who cared enough to rescue her from Jenkins. He shook his head. “I can no longer afford the life I live here. I would hate to leave, but unless you have a wife for me in the next hour, then I am afraid I am left with no choice.” Sharon frowned, reaching up hurriedly to wipe her tears. “A wife? What in the world for?” “My grandfather requested it in his will. He demands I get married before I can come into my inheritance. I need my inheritance to pay for the loss incurred by the farm in the last planting season, and the money owed to my farmhands. As it is, Blondie,” a handsome smile settled on his face, causing her heart to do a little flip. Ignoring it, she paid attention to him. “I have run out of time.” It made sense to her then —why a man like him would want a wife and would be willing to stoop low enough to get one through a gamble. She didn't know if she trusted him yet, but she was certain he was nothing like Jenkins, or the others who stood by while Jenkins publicly assaulted her. Nodding in farewell, he turned around to walk away. “Wait!” She yelled after his retreating back. Stiffening, he turned back around slowly, confusion clouding his hazel eyes. She swallowed. “I volunteer. I will be your wife...” When he raised a brow, she covered the distance between them, her jaw set, “in name only.” He seemed to consider her words for a few seconds. “No,” he finally said. “What?!” Her voice raised a notch, betraying the disappointment she felt. Taking a step that brought him face to face with her, he said, “If you must be my wife, Blondie, then you must truly be my wife —in name, and in body.” He leaned forward, his warm breath tickling her skin as his eyes ran down the length of her. “Frankly,” he raised his gaze back to her. “I want all of you. All or nothing.” Her teeth clamped down on her bottom lip, wide blue eyes staring back at him. For a second, Matthew regretted his request. Not only was he not in a position to make demands, asking a complete stranger to be his wife in every sense of the word, was the most ridiculous thing he could have ever said. Still, he didn't want to promise her celibacy for the rest of their married life; that was just not going to be feasible. Sure, they wouldn't be getting married because they loved each other, but at least they could form some sort of bond in the coming years, couldn't they? Unless of course, her plan was to run off once she had what it was she wanted from him? His gaze ran down the length of her —what did she want? Perhaps her plan was to steal from him and run off to a place she would be independent of her gambling father, and Jenkins who seemed incapable of leaving her alone? He didn't have much money, if that was her plan. He was not only behind on the payment of his farmhands, but he was also behind on paying the complete price for the farm. If her plan was to use him and ditch him, then he might as well make it very clear to her, the futility of that plan. “I am a farmer in debt —a lot of debt. My inheritance is the only way of coming out of it, and even then, it will barely be enough to keep my head afloat. I might be forced to marry now due to my present circumstances, but I am also in need of a strong,” His eyes drifted to her hands that hung loosely by her sides. Her fingernails might have been devoid of sand, but it was apparent to him from their jagged state, that her hands were accustomed to hard work. “Reliable woman,” he met her eyes, his brow raised. He would make it clear to her that he might be desperate, but not enough to marry a deceptive, gold hunting woman, “capable of handling the affairs of a farm, and perhaps bearing children.” He squared his jaw, also making it clear that his marriage would not be in name only. She folded her arms, anger glistening in her eyes. “Well, mister, I will assure you right this moment that I am indeed strong —I cared for my sick mother until she passed, and have been the sole provider for my father since I was fifteen. I am also reliable —I have not touched a single dime of Mr. Hank's fortune since I came here to work for him. I have never handled the affairs of a farm in my life, but perhaps I shall not do too poorly. As for the potency of my uterus, sir, I am truly uncertain.” Heat rapidly climbed up the side of Matthew's neck, setting his entire face on fire. Clearing his throat nervously, he glanced down briefly at his dusty shoes, embarrassed and shocked by her plain words. Perhaps he shouldn't be? He was the one who indirectly called her lazy and dishonest, while shamelessly making plain his intention to bed her. “Will that be all?” He raised his eyes. She stood before him, arms folded, brow raised. “W-what?” He asked. “Will that be all the requirements you need for a wife, or would you like to take my uterus on a test ride before taking me to the courthouse?” Beyond embarrassed, his cheeks immediately warmed, and in that second he considered turning around and walking away from the pretty blonde head with a big mouth on her. But what choice did he have? He was stuck between marrying her, or losing his farm —and independence— forever. Even now, he could feel the letter he had written to his father that morning, admitting defeat, seated snugly in his breast pocket. He straightened. “Rather than a test ride, how about a proper introduction?” He held out his hand to her. “I am Matthew Steiner, a pitiable excuse for a farmer.” She stood still for several seconds, her eyes fixed on his outstretched hand. “Sharon,” She finally said, placing her hand on the tip of his fingers. “Freelance,” She withdrew her hand after only a second of touching his, “unfortunate daughter of a pitiable excuse for a father.” “Just so we are on the same page, Blondie,” he said, choosing to use his own special name for her, rather than the name given to her by a father she was obviously ashamed of. “Will you marry me?” She shrugged. “Yes, but I do not promise you will ever possess my heart, Matthew Steiner.” 16 STORY CONTINUES BELOW ~*~ It should not bother him, Matthew told himself all through that morning —through the exchange of their vows and signing of their marriage certificate, through the ride back to the farm, through showing Sharon around the house. Her declaration of never loving him shouldn't bother him. What did he expect from a woman who was practically pushed to the corner and forced to marry a man? Certainly love would be the last thing she would be willing to give. He did not love her either. He certainly would not have chosen her to get married to if he sincerely believed he had a choice. Theirs was a loveless marriage, borne out of necessity —necessity and convenience. That afternoon, they both sat at the table in the kitchen, Sharon's eyes fixed on her plate as she nibbled lazily on her chicken. It appeared to him that she was making it a point of duty to avoid him. He found that he also didn't feel like speaking, nor did he have anything to say. Perhaps he even preferred the silence to her jabbing words? Perhaps he would rather sit here with a cold plate of food before him, rather than listen to his wife speak of never loving him? It was a bitter pill to swallow and it wasn't until he was crawling into bed after a long day of her words haunting him, that he decided he was not going to swallow it. No, he would send a message to his father the next morning, informing him of his marriage, and once he has come into his inheritance, he would be sure to let her know she was welcome to leave; he would not live with a woman unwilling to yield her heart to him, he just couldn't do it. Turning his back to her, he settled on the far end of the bed and stared at the dark clouds through the window, failing to fall asleep. 1 ~*~ Sharon settled on the unfamiliar bed, her eyelids pulling shut the second she heard the door click open and the sound of his heavy boots against the wooden floors reached her. A slight shiver raced down her spine as he neared, her mind dreading what she knew was coming —tonight was their first night as a married couple, and he already made his requirements for their marriage very clear. The mattress sank under his weight, her heartbeat tripling in speed as her fingers instinctively clutched the neckline of her nightdress —the same nightdress she had woken up in two days before. Even now, she wondered who the outdated thing belonged to. Perhaps it belonged to his first wife? The thought brought a small frown to her face. Perhaps he was married once in the past, and something happened to the poor thing? She shook her head; she was being silly. Matthew was certainly not past the age of twenty three, and the chances of him ever being married in the past seemed quite slim to her. Although, there was not many things she knew about him. As a matter of fact, she knew nothing about him. A few seconds passed, and his weight finally spread out on the bed. Fully expecting him to reach for her, she let out a shaky breath; she would let him do whatever he wanted and would refrain from fighting him, even if she knew it would close the door to any hope of Independence and freedom she thought she would ever have when she turned eighteen. If she was unfortunate enough to get pregnant, she would forever be doomed to stay married to him and raise his children. The very thought of it brought tears to her eyes. She did not want to remain trapped for the rest of her life, deprived of the chance of finding love for herself and being free from the bondage of the men who sought to control her life. “Are you alright?” His words broke through her weary mind. She stiffened when she felt him lean close. “Blondie?” He touched her shoulder. “Forgive my intrusion, but I can't help but notice the sounds you're making can only mean you're crying.” The gentility of his voice and the odd sensation of comfort his hand on her shoulder brought, did nothing but infuriate her. She was not alright! And how dare he try to feign ignorance of the fact that he was a major reason for her pain?! How dare he act like he didn't know she loathed being married to him?! Shrugging his hand off, she turned fully to him. “I am not alright!” She blurted. “You do not possibly expect me to act like I'm happy to be here, do you?!” She swept her tears away impatiently, climbing out of the bed. “I do not wish to be here —to be in your home, and play the role of a submissive wife!” It was a terrible decision, one she made out of desperation. If only she had thought it through, perhaps then she would have concluded that Jenkins wasn't really a problem? She could have resisted Jenkins and maybe even report him to the Sheriff. “Just leave me alone, will you? Leave me alone and mind your business!” There, she said it —she would not offer her body to him for she wished to be left alone. She angrily made her way to the door, her fingers barely settling on the knob when something took her wrist captive and whirled her around. Her eyes immediately came to rest on Matthew's eyes glistening with frustration. “You, Blondie, are my wife,” his face crumbled into a frown, “an unfortunate arrangement, but an arrangement nonetheless. You are my wife, and that makes you my business.” He bit out, releasing her wrist, “but I shall not force you to play the role of my wife.” He said, before turning to walk past her. Spinning around just as he reached the door and pulled it open, she called after his retreating back, “where are you going?!” He paused, his back tensed. “This is the best room in the building, it is yours,” making his way out, she heard his soft whisper before the door closed behind him, “until you're ready to leave.” Matthew's fingers curled into fists, anger and frustration rippling through his veins as he forced one foot after the other forward until he was entering one of the five rooms the building possessed, and settling on the slightly smaller bed compared to the bed he was supposed to be sharing with his new wife.+ Kicking his boots off, he stretched his rigid body out on the bed and closed his eyes as Sharon's words to him a few seconds ago, rang in his ears. How did he ever get here?! He mused, tightening his hold on the sheets. How did he move from having his entire life figured out —the plan to invest his life's savings in a farm where he would begin his new life with Gretchen and their children— to having nothing figured out? First it was Gretchen rejecting his proposal, then it was his farm failing, and now, it is his marriage failing even before it begins! Would he ever get anything right?1 Gathering the pillow beneath his head in his hands, he sprang to a sitting position and tossed the pillow to the ground; if she didn't want to be married to him, then so be it! He growled, running his fingers through his hair. He would go over there and tell her she could leave! He didn't care for a stubborn woman! He didn't care that that stubborn woman was his only salvation from the controlling fist of his father! Turning to face the door, he had barely taken three steps to it, before turning back to the bed; he couldn't lose Sharon. He wanted to lose her, but he couldn't for whether he liked it or not, common sense told him that he needed her. Still —he thought, turning around to face the door once more as he made his way to her room— she obviously didn't want to be here. She made it very clear that she wanted to be left alone. What did she think, that he would leave her alone in his own house?! Surely she knew her being under his roof meant she was subject to his authority?!1 Hissing, he withdrew his fist that was poised to knock on her door. No, it was his door! This was his bedroom! She wasn't entitled to it; he only let her stay in it because it was the gentlemanly thing to do. He curled his fist once more and made to knock on the door again. She would open the door, and he would require her to come with him to the courthouse to have their marriage annulled. He would then take her to wherever it was she needed to be, or desired to go to. Perhaps he might even leave her standing there on the sidewalk? Growling, he turned around sharply, resting his back on the closed door; he couldn't do that, he was incapable of doing any of that. Whether he liked the nasty woman in his bedroom right now or not, he couldn't leave her on the sidewalk. And who knew, perhaps Jenkins would return? The image of Sharon clinging to him after he had sent Jenkins running off that morning, flashed before his eyes, the memory of the slight trembling of her body as her arms tightened around him, filling his mind. It was in that second that he knew. Slowly slipping to the wooden floor, he pulled his knees up before him, his elbows resting on his knees as he bowed his head and placed both his hands on his head. Sighing softly, he closed his eyes as the singular reason for Sharon's agreement to his marriage proposal became very clear to him; fear.1 ~*~ Sharon knew she hurt him. It didn't matter how much he tried to hide the hurt behind his anger, she knew she had managed to push the right buttons to get him out of the room. It was what she wanted, wasn't it? Yet, sleep eluded her. For some reason, guilt stabbed at her heart until she was tossing and turning in bed and only falling asleep at dawn and waking up to find that she had slept most of the morning away. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Heaving a nervous breath at the thought of coming face to face with Matthew yet again, she forced one foot after the other down the stairs. Not only did she manage to irritate, anger and hurt him the evening before, here she was, crawling out of bed when it was nearly midday. Certainly, he would think the worst of her. She shook her head, deciding she didn't care what he thought —she cared nothing for the thoughts of a vile gambler. But as she made her way into the kitchen, her feeling of unease only seemed to heighten. Pausing by the entryway, she heaved a breath of relief the second her eyes came to rest on the empty room. It was only then that the sweet smell of coffee, bacon and freshly baked bread, began to fill her nostrils. Her eyes drifted to the lone dining table in the room, a small frown immediately claiming her face at the sight of the large breakfast spread out on it. When was the last time she had breakfast? She stared at it, her lips parting slightly and her stomach rumbling as she eagerly made her way to the table and poured herself a cup of coffee. “Blondie?” Startled, she jumped, the scalding hot liquid spilling on her fingers and causing them to release their hold on the cup. She watched in horror as it crashed to the wooden floor, black coffee and shards of glass littering the floorboards around her feet. The image of her father immediately flashed before her eyes; she saw him passed out on the floor of their home, shards of whiskey bottles lying on the floor beside him. She saw him drunk on the streets, his hand barely holding on to a bottle as he staggered home. And in that second, she lost what was left of the hope she ever had for him —there was no changing him, or making him a better father. There was no saving his life for she had tried severally to do so, and severally, he chose to hang on to his bottle, rather than her. “Blondie,” something grabbed her shoulders, pulling her back to the present. Gasping, air filled her lungs as she jerked her head upright. “Hey,” Matthew. He stood before her, his face only an inch from hers as he searched her eyes. Two thin lines pulled his brows together until they formed a singular brow as concern creased his face. “Are you alright?” His hand swept her brow as he motioned to the glass on the floor. Her gaze moved to the glass and she frowned —it was beyond redemption. There was no way that it could ever be put together again for not only was it broken, she was certain some of the pieces of the glass had gone missing. Wasn't that how her life was? Why was she foolish enough to ever believe that her life could be perfect like it had been before her mother passed? That one day, her father would cease to mourn her mother's death and finally take up the role of parenthood he had so cruelly abandoned? Why was she naïve enough to think that her problems could be halted for a few months through her marriage to Matthew? What was even worse was her foolishness in thinking she could ever be free —to live, to be independent, and to be happy. It was nothing but foolishness to imagine that if she indeed stayed married long enough to turn eighteen, she would be independent of all the men in her life who sought to control her. For all she knew, age wouldn't turn her father into a proper parent, neither would it succeed in keeping Jenkins away from her. And what would she do once she was free? Where would she live? How would she live? Slowly, she tore her eyes off of the floor and raised her head up to Matthew. Matthew Steiner was the lesser evil. She didn't know him, or love him, but what she did know was that she needed him. As far as she knew, he was one of the best men she had ever come across —out of all the scum whose presence she had been forced to endure— and so far, he hadn't done anything to hurt her... yet. Perhaps staying married to him was the only choice she had? Perhaps they could learn to tolerate —if nothing else— the presence of each othe— She hitched a breath, pain momentarily clouding her mind. Glancing down sharply, she withdrew her throbbing hand from his grip. He swore, her eyes shifting to him. His frown deepened. “You're hurt.” She turned briefly to her throbbing hand, her skin unbroken and seemingly intact. Yet, she knew it was only a matter of time before the effect of the hot liquid that had only just poured on it, began to show on her skin. “Here, sit down.” He placed both hands on her shoulders and ushered her to a wooden seat. “I should not have snuck up on you like that.” He muttered and it appeared to her that he was scolding himself as turned around and walked over to the sink. She watched him work, his back to her as he stood by the sink for several seconds while she sat nursing her aching hand. “How does Nana do this?!” He muttered a lot louder than before. Turning around with a bowl of water in hand, he placed it on the table before her. “Here, put your hand in this.” She nodded, complying with his instruction. A soft sigh of relief escaped her lips as her fingers sank into the cold water. “I am uncertain of where Nana keeps the first aid.” “I am fine.” She kept her eyes on her hand buried in the water, nervous about looking at him. Perhaps it was his kindness toward her in spite of how she treated him the evening before, that left her feeling somewhat ashamed? Withdrawing her hand from the bowl once the pain had eased up a little, she wiped her wet hand on her nightdress and rose to her feet. Turning to the mess on the floor, she made to pick up the broken shards. “Do not worry about that, I'll clean it up.” His words stopped her in her attempt, sending yet another wave of shame down her spine —why was he being so nice to her? “It is my mess,” She hissed, slightly irritated by her own clumsiness and by the guilt she felt. “I'll clean it up.” It was the least she could do, wasn't it? Besides, she wasn't used to having people help her —especially people she wasn't certain she could trust. Ignoring his protest earlier, she had begun gathering the broken glasses in her hands when the sound of his retreating footsteps reached her. Jerking her head upright, she watched with mounting guilt, as he exited the building through the back door.

0/Post a Comment/Comments

Recent Posts

Your Ads Here
73745675015091643
Your Ads Here
Your Ads Here