3 Years Later
“I don’t want to marry you; I don’t want anything to do with you and I most definitely do not want to sleep with you!” I yelled.
I never thought I would be saying anything of the sort in my life but here I was in a wedding gown, outside a church with the dark, devilishly handsome man, trying to find a way out of this mess.
“Get back inside the Church,” he said harshly.
“Please, you don’t want to marry me either, there has to be a way out of this. Right?” I felt as though I would faint any minute.
“You know the answer, now get inside so we can finish this.” He said, taking my hand and pulling me back towards the building.
“No, wait!” I pulled my hand out of his grasp.
“Ileana, you don’t have a choice. It’s clear that you’ll do as I say or- “
“Or your family will trigger part of the clause that takes away everything, including my business.” I finished.
“I don’t care, I can’t go through this! I would rather you took it and leave me alone.”
“What about the thousands of people that depend on your family? What about the people that work for you? Are you really okay with all of them losing their jobs?” He asked, knowingly.
“You…you wouldn’t! Why would I want to marry a man that would destroy everything I have; everything I worked so hard for…there’s no point, I would rather you take everything and let me be.” I whispered at the end.
“Are you sure?” He had this evil smirk in his face, and he knew my weakness and I had no choice but to give in and marry him. I just hoped I would find solace in a life of solitude.
“I hate you, Greyson Novak.”
Ignoring my comment, he said, “Let’s get back inside and finish this. The quicker this day is over, the sooner I can get back to my life.”
He stretched out his hand for me to take.
I took a deep breath, put my small hand in his larger one and walked back into the Church where 1000 wedding guests were waiting for us.
I have been living in a brick prison for the last 3 years. Alone and miserable. I have seen my husband a handful of times since the wedding. I was frustrated, lonely and craved freedom. I lived in his house, had his staff and his bodyguards and all I did was work. I have spent my entire life under the care of overbearing, arrogant men, first my father, then my brother and now my husband. Freedom was the one luxury I couldn’t have. Though I had every tangible thing a person could want, I didn’t have what most normal people did, the freedom to make decisions, but most of all, the freedom to make mistakes.
As for my husband, I did expect him to make an appearance today, but maybe he would forget again. That would be lucky considering what happened the last time he was here. The last time the jerk had graced us with his presence was 6 months ago. He had come back here for some meeting and had walked into the house while I was having a late dinner. I had heard him come in talking to the housekeeper, Mrs. Burton, but I didn’t see him until the next day.
The next day, I was sketching on the patio and had been about to go to the kitchen for some tea when he walked into the kitchen. So, I stopped and listened to him talk to Mrs. Burton and Jane the cook.
“Mrs. Burton, Jane, how is everything? Anything I should know?” He asked.
“Sir, welcome back! There hasn’t been much going on lately, Mrs. Novak has been staying indoors more. Sir, I feel the need to tell you… she does seem to be eating less and working a lot more. Truthfully, I am a bit worried about her.” Mrs. Burton answered, hesitantly.
“I see, I will deal with this when I’m back, but Mrs. Burton, I would like a daily update on my wife while I’m away.”
“Yes sir. When will you be leaving and when shall we expect you back?” She asked.
“I’m leaving tonight, I’m heading to the airport in a few minutes. I will be back in a few weeks. Do you know where Ileana is?”
“I believe she is on the patio, sir.” She answered.
I quickly raced back to the poolside patio table and sat down before I got caught snooping. AS soon as I was back in my chair, I heard footsteps approaching behind me. “ It’s not appropriate to eavesdrop, Ileana.”
I ignored his comment and went back to sketching when I felt his breath on my neck and heard him whisper “Ileana. I know you can hear me.”
I felt a shiver go through my body and I knew he felt it too.
Embarrassed by the reaction, I asked “What do you want?”
“I just wanted to check in with my wife and see how she was doing.”
I scoffed, “Please.”
“What does that mean?” He asked, turning my chair around to face him.
Taking a deep breath, I tried to calm myself. “Nothing… nothing, I just have a lot of work to do.” I replied. The last thing I needed was to lose my temper.
“Ileana, what do you want to say?” He pressed, leaning forward.
He leaned further down, placing his face inches from mine, “Answer my question, what’s bothering you?” You could hear the threat in his voice.
I pushed the chair back and stood, backing away from him. “Do you realize how domineering you are?”
He lifted his brow but stayed quiet and while placing his hands in his pockets he shrugged his massive shoulders.
“Well, since you asked…” I rubbed my hands together, not really knowing where to begin. “I want to live my own life. You’ve continued to live the way you wanted, I would like the same chance.” I rambled out.
“What do you mean? Would you like to elaborate?”
“I want freedom Greyson! Freedom to live my life how I want, to make my own decisions and to have real companionship.”
“So, what exactly do you want?” He asked.
I thought about it for a moment. What did I really want?
“I told you, I want freedom.”
“And what do you want me to do exactly?”
I couldn’t believe how hard this concept was to understand, especially for men like Grey and my brother Adonis.
“I want you to let me live a separate life, back in London. We can stay married legally but have no obligations towards each other. I don’t want a husband who spends his time around the world with his mistresses while I stay locked in this prison. Just give me my freedom!” I exclaimed.
“Are you out of your mind?” Grey asked, in shock.
“Grey you wanted- “
“The answer is no. You’re staying here. You’re my wife and my responsibility,” he interrupted.
“Grey…” I started to say, but his phone started to ring.
“You know what we’ll discuss this when I’m back from France.” He said, waving his hand, walking into the house and answering his phone.
But neither knew that that conversation would have to wait another 6 months. The man had said his final words and disappeared again.
As I sat there on that same chair, he had left me hours ago, the sky had gone dark like my thoughts. I was furious! He had dismissed me like I was a child. Like my thoughts and feeling weren’t valid. The audacity of that man. I felt as though I was pinned against the wall and finding it harder to breathe each day, each minute. I craved freedom. I knew love wasn’t in the stars, but I would be able to make my own decisions, fail or succeed, they would be mine.
“Mam’ it’s getting chilly, would you like to come inside? I have dinner ready for you as well.” Jane asked.
I jumped a little startled by another presence.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to disturb you, but Mr. Novak had called and wanted me to make sure you eat dinner and come inside before you catch a chill.”
“Jane, I am perfectly fine with looking after myself,” I answered.
“Mrs. Novak, I must insist you come inside immediately.” I heard Mrs. Burton say from the doors on the back porch.
“Mrs. Burton- “I was about to let my anger unleash on the housekeeper ten folds, when Jane placed a hand on my shoulder “Mam, Mr. Novak was pretty adamant, I believe Mrs. Burton doesn’t want to be in any trouble.”
I understood Jane's meaning and replied “I’ll be right in.”
The man had shattered the little control I did have over this household on his way out this time. But I made a vow, I would break out of the billionaire’s prison one way or another. I just had to come up with a plan.