"Did you know? Did you give me to another man?”
There was only silence on the other end of the line.
“What the f**k, Jose!”
She’d never shouted at Jose before as her aunt had told her to be respectful. She wanted to throw her head back in laughter at the thought now.
“It was only business, babe. And if you're going to be my wife, well, it’s your duty to help me,“ he replied, confidently. “Is it necessary to question me in such a tone?” He continued. “Where is my beautiful, kind Alessa? Where has she gone?”
She felt the knife turn in her gut. It had been usual for Jose to occasionally hire escorts or buy expensive gifts to impress clients but she never thought she’d be one of them.
Jose found no answer on the phone for a long time so he softened his voice. “Alessa, why did you leave so soon? Did you do something to offend him?”
Alessa gritted her teeth. She couldn't believe that this disgusting man was actually her fiance! She hated him and his words were like daggers stabbing at her heart. “Jose,” she said, her voice shaking “we are over.”
Jose clenched his phone in his hand. He’d never expected that she’d dare leave him, “Over? Haw!” He barked. “How dare you break up with me? Look at yourself, you w***e. You have no family, no money, and no job. I shared everything I had with you, everything! You should be kowtowing to me and be thankful I let you stay by my side. And now you are going to leave me? Your uncle’s workshop would’ve closed down long ago but for me. If you want to leave, go ahead!” He raved. “I won’t beg. I made you sleep with a man, what of it? I don’t even mind, but now you want to leave me!”
So that was how he saw her, a leech who’d grown fat off his hard work. He owned her, he thought. How wrong he was.
A chill crept over Alessa from the tip of her heart to her whole body. She forced a smile: “That’s great. We both agree it’s over. The wedding is canceled.”
Jose gasped, “You’ve made up your mind? I’ll give you one more chance -.”
“No, thanks. Take your chance and shove it.”
Alessa hung up the phone and walked into the store. “A pack of Marlborough lights, thanks.” She handed over some of her change. Hiding in a corner, she lit a cigarette, collapsed against the wall, and cried. Through the smoke, she could vaguely the street outside. Teenagers were painting graffiti on the wall. A few prostitutes were hawking their bodies along the sidewalk. Cars on the road were waiting for the traffic light to turn green. The street was lively and noisy. But she felt so lonely.
She didn't notice that there was a sleek black Lamborghini waiting silently in the traffic. A handsome figure reclined in the backseat, gazing deeply at her through the half-opened window.
After that wild morning by the pool, Brian had returned to his calm and elegant self, dressed in a fine black Armani suit, a sense of chill hiding in his gray eyes.
He had been working and traveling abroad for many years and had not concerned himself with family. Nor had he paid attention to his nephew's marriage and knew nothing about his nephew's fiancé. It was all puzzling to him.
His bodyguard, Garwood, was a hulk of a man. He leaned over into his ear: “Sir, the girl is named Alessa Schultz, 21 years old and she was engaged to Jose as a child to cement the family businesses together. But soon the whole thing went south after her father died and she was adopted by her uncle, Patrick Schultz. She now makes a living as a model. Mr. Schultz suggested their marriage when she came of age, and they were supposed to get married next month.”
Twenty-one… too young to be out of school. Why are you in such a hurry, Alessa?
Brian snorted, “So what’s the deal between the Schultzs and the Yontzs?”
Garwood continued, “Patrick Schultz set up a workshop which survives only as a supplier of Mr Yontz’s company. I guess that’s why Mr. Schultz was eager to marry her to that asshole Jose.”
Brians's eyes darken slightly. So that was what motivated them. All the Schultz cared about was money – his nephew's money.
He’d heard earlier that Alessa had broken up with Jose. She did have the gut. Her braveness and determination somehow reminded him of a girl he once knew. He smiled, remembering the soft nape of her neck as he mounted her from behind. His Adam's apple moved slightly.
Alissa got off the bus in the leafy suburbs of LA. It was dark and cool out, the tall oak trees rustling in the wind. She gathered her arms around herself, shivering in her still-damp clothes.
Her body ached all over, her feet sore and swollen, and purple bruises on her neck where he’d ravished her. She stumbled up the drive, exhausted.
She knocked on the door. Her cousin, aunt, and uncle were watching TV in the living room.
She suddenly felt her confidence drain away. All the anger and bitterness that had propelled her there to here guttered out with a single, shuddering sigh. In a moment she realized she’d have to face the consequences of what happened today.
The door opened. She smiled weakly, tears in her eyes. “Uncle, Aunt, I’m back.”
Her aunt stood in the doorway in a pink nightie. “There you are! Did you break up with Jose? What in heavens were you thinking!”