BLURB I stare numbly at the man before me, my eyes already burning with hot, salty tears. “Did I not make it clear that you’re mine?” He growls sharply. “How many times do I have to tell you that you belong to me, Aella? You’re mine. This wedding is going to happen… and there’s nothing you or anyone else can do to stop me.” I shut my eyes, finally loosing the battle with my tears as they stream down my cheeks in torrents. I turn to the priests desperately. Right now, he’s my only hope. “Don’t I get a choice, priest? Isn’t my consent needed for this?” Roman takes another step forward and this time, I’m pressed up against his hot, hard chest. “Do not start a war you cannot finish, princess. This marriage is happening. Until death do us part.” ________________ What would you do if you walked into school one day to see your best friend aggressively locking lips with your boyfriend? Aella is the average New York college girl. However, her life takes a dark turn when she arrives at school one day to the horrible sight of her so-called best friend and her boyfriend, Roman, making out at the library. Hurt and betrayed, Aella runs out of the building only to be hit by a car. Waking up from a two year long coma, she finds Roman waiting for her with only one mission in mind……. to make sure she forgives him and takes him back. Because she belongs to him and him alone. Aella tries to refuse him but her parents are indebted to him and there's no escaping his trap. He’s the darkest of all the gods… and her worst nightmare.
The sound of skin hitting against skin reverberates around the thin walls of the kitchen.
I clutch my aching cheek, willing myself not to cry, I can't let them win.
"I'm not the enemy you ungrateful bitch." Kate hisses at me.
I look at my dad who glares at me as if it's a strange thing that I don't want to marry a man twice my age.
"This man has enough money to take care of you and whatever bastard children you might have," Kate says staring daggers at me.
"If he's so good, why doesn't Mia marry him?" I ask in a condescending tone.
"Mia is a child you bitch." Kate says while taking a threatening step towards me.
I stumble back a little not willing to be slapped again. "Mia is my age!"
"But at least she's not a slut like you." Kate says dismissively.
"Look, Aella, the last thing we want to do is hurt you." my father says in a tone I'm sure is supposed to be placating.
"Oh you've hurt me already, you hurt me when you threw my mother's things out after she died, you hurt me when you refused to honour her memory, you hurt me when you blamed me for her death and when you let your wife turn me into a slave for her children." I say while furiously wiping away the tears rolling down my cheek.
"Enough! You will marry him, or you won't be leaving this house for college any longer." my father says thunderously.
"In case you forgot I already have my first degree, and law as a second one was never my choice." I say to him.
"Look, Aella, you're getting older every day, and soon you will be a very old spinster with only her cats to keep her company." Kate butt's in.
"I'm just 22 years old." I say with a scoff.
"Unless you have a way to give us the money promised by your suitor, you're getting married whether you like it or not." my father says with an air of finality.
Already hating myself for what I'm about to say, "What if there was a way I could give you the money?"
Kate scoffs under her breath, "And how are you going to get that much money?"
I look at my father and seeing the greedy interest in his eyes, I forge forward, "I still have the money given to me for my upkeep by the scholarship board, I'm sure that would be enough."
My father looks at me with beady eyes already considering my offer.
"Even if you have the money, you still have to get married, What would people say if I couldn't get my oldest daughter settled in her own home." Kate says with a glare, showing her intentions of wanting to get rid of me.
"This is the twenty-first-century mother. Nobody cares." I say to Kate, who merely huffs at me.
"If you will let me, I will transfer the money right now and be on my way back to school." I say to my father.
I look at him, with my heart in my throat, hoping he wouldn't go through with his evil plans, and I barely hold in a sight of relief when he finally gives in to me.
I take out my phone and do the necessary transfer while wondering how I would survive for the next few weeks in school without cash.
I don't wait for them to thank me, knowing they never will, I make my way out of the house and into the car. I had been in the middle of a class when I had received a call from my stepmother that my dad was dying, now I know it was just a ploy to get me out here to marry me off.
I make a promise to myself not to return here unless the only other option is death.
I drive myself back to school, and seeing as the day is already gone, I go straight to my hostel, planning to rest my eyes for a few minutes but end up sleeping till the next day.
*** *** ***
I walk the short distance to the only restaurant on the college grounds. With the help of my roommate and best friend, I got a job there as a waiter.
I know it's not ideal, seeing as the only people I will be serving are my colleagues, but right now, I can't afford to care. My pride doesn't make enough money to feed me.
"Hey, good afternoon." I say to my co-worker, Grace, who is also a scholarship student.
"Afternoon." she says in a cold tone.
I never expected us to become best friends, so I don't take her cold tone to heart.
I quickly change into my work uniform in the staff lockers before making my way back into the large customer area with my clipboard.
"Good afternoon. What can I get for you?" I say to my first customer of the day.
"Oh look!, it's the school's slut." Kylie says loud enough for the whole restaurant to hear. She looks at her friends for validation and joins them in laughing at her dumb joke.
My polite smile remains on my lips and I don't bother turning to answer her, seeing as she wasn't even sitting in my section.
I thought bullying was something peculiar to high school students, but apparently some people didn't grow up enough.
I wait for the customer in front of me to order, but she gives me a hesitant look, looking between me and Kylie, the self-proclaimed queen of the school.
"If I were you, I wouldn't let her bring my food for me, anything to stop myself from being infected by chlamydia," she says while snickering loudly.
"Boss says you're on dishwashing duties." Grace whispers when she gets close enough.
I don't bother hiding my exasperated sigh as I make my way to the kitchen area. I tell myself not to respond as I hear them laughing at me, but when I get close enough to them, I just couldn't help it.
"Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease you dumb twat." I can't help but smile as I watch the smile fall off Kylie's face.
I know she will eventually get back at me but nothing will stop me from enjoying my small win.
I work till 7 pm, and soon enough, I bid my boss goodbye, and I walk the short distance back to my hostel.
I fall flat on my bed the moment I step inside the room, "Hey Ash."
Ashley looks up from her pile of books, "You look like a cat pissed in your food."
"Well, you can say that again, I had a run-in with Kylie." I say with an eye roll.
Ashley grimaces, "I can just imagine."
"Right now, I just want to sleep till next week, I'm so tired." I say while burying my face in my pillow.
"That's not happening, we already have plans to party all night." Ashley says while closing up her books and rearranging her stuff.
"I love you, Ash, but I'm not moving an inch from this bed, I need rest." I say to her.
"No, what you need is to get laid." she says while moving to her cupboard to get changed.
I groan and force myself to stand up from my bed, "you forget that all this, is not my scene."
"Well yeah, we are only young once." Ashley says to me.
I change into a black short dress that, although old, was still good enough for a night party. I don't bother with makeup, and I let my hair down, too tired to stress about it. I pair my dress with my vans sneakers and I make my way out of the bathroom to where Ashley is waiting for me.
"Damn, you look good." Ashley says while looking at me appreciatively.
"I wish I looked half as good as you do." I respond.
I ensure my phone, id card and my wallet are all in my bag before I turn to follow Ashley, "where is this party taking place?"
"At the frat house obviously." Ashley responds like she couldn't understand why I was asking.
I take note of the road, so in case I had to come back alone, which was most likely, I wouldn't get lost.
I don't need to be told we had reached the party, when I see both boys and girls roaming the front yard of a very massive building with the signature red cup in their hands.
"We need to get drinks." Ashley says loudly over the loud bass of the music as we make our way into the building.
"Okay, I will wait here for you, just don't get me any vodka." I say with an almost gag at the thought of my most hated alcohol.
"Alright, please stand here so I don't have to look for you." Ashley says to me before heading off.
I look around the place and I take note of the football photos hanging all over the sitting room and I know for sure this building was the football house where all the players roomed.
I feel out of my element until I spot Ashley heading in my direction.
"You look like you would rather be part of the wall." she says while handing over my drink.
My answer is interrupted by the vibration of my phone and when I take it out of my purse, I see it's Kate calling. I had just settled them yesterday, I wonder what she wants with me again.
I switch off my phone and at the thought of what had gone down yesterday, I down my drink in one go.
"Step-witch?" Ashley asks, using the name we had given to my father's wife.
I nod and grab her drink, also drinking it as fast as I did mine. Good thing it's beer, at least I have a high tolerance for it.
"Take it easy on the alcohol, aye?" Ashley says wincing.
"You know what?" I pause for effect but I don't let her answer, "let's go dance."
"Hell yeah." Ashley says while grinding her body against mine.
We head off towards the center and I throw my head back while moving my body in tandem with the beats.
I dance for a while and after turning down the advances of more than two guys, I get bored and I head off in the direction of the drinks. I don't bother telling Ashley as I see she has found her beau for the night.
I sip my water as I lean on the wall just outside the building, I had taken a detour and had gotten water instead of beer, I realised I was more drunk than I would have liked.
I spot a black wrangler jeep roll to a stop at the edge of the side walk that leads to the fraternity house. Some guys step out of the car, and although there are all good looking, I can't take my eyes off the one that drops from the drivers seat.
I spot Kylie making her way towards him and I almost do a complete cheer dance when he ignores her.
Kylie stomps back to the house, and when she passes by me, she snarks at me, "What are you looking at?"
I merely shrug, not willing to put a target on my back with a mocking reply.
I return my attention back to the guy, I can't help but envy his easy gait and pose, he acts like he's the king and everyone else is his subject. I don't blame him though, if I had a face and height like that I would feel like that too.
I turn away from him when he moves in the direction of the house, not willing to be caught staring.
Like moth to flames, all the guys and girls outside move to enter the house, I'm guessing to be in the presence of their king, I wonder who he is.
I remain outside sipping my water, but soon enough I start to feel uncomfortable. I feel the eyes of someone staring at me, I look around at the semi dark lawn and when I find no-one, with a shiver I go back inside to the party.
I still don't feel any better, as the feeling of being watched becomes ten times worse. I look around for Ashley and I eventually find her and some dude sucking their faces off.
I try to push my way through the sea of bodies but they refuse to let up.
"Sorry." I say to the blonde haired girl I mistakenly pushed.
After some time, I give up trying to get across to Ashley and I move in the direction of the kitchen which seems almost deserted.
At the sight of the fridge, I feel my stomach growl with hunger and without much thought I pull it open and take out a PB&J sandwich.
I take a bite of the sandwich and moan throatily while throwing my head back with careless abandon, I spot a shadow leaning on the wooden banister staring down at the crowd and looking directly at me.
I try to act as inconspicuous as possible in order not to alert the shadow of my awareness of his presence.
I move to the side and watch as the shadow also turns with me. I move into the main foyer of the house where most people are partying and I get a full view of the shadow who happens to be the guy who drove the wrangler jeep.
He stares at me with an intensity I wouldn't touch with a nine and a half foot pole.
Chapter 1 Shadow in the dark
Chapter 2 Spilled Drink
Chapter 3 No Option
Chapter 4 Feelings
Chapter 5 Blackmail
Chapter 6 The Ball
Chapter 7 UNEXPECTED FLOWERS
Chapter 8 Proposition
Chapter 9 Sorry, Not Sorry
Chapter 10 MINE
Chapter 11 Bedroom Activities
Chapter 12 Ultimatum
Chapter 13 Late-night visitor
Chapter 14 Failed Deal
Chapter 15 Debt Payment
Chapter 16 Gambling Addiction
Chapter 17 His Personal Secretary.
Chapter 18 A Fiancée
Chapter 19 Strange Visitor
Chapter 20 The evil witch and her deal.