[Read Story] AFRAID TO LOVE (Episodes 51 – END)
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Ronald beamed with joy as he caught sight of his brother-in-law at the front door. “Welcome, Jeremy.”
Jeremy stepped into the well furnished living room. He had his hopes up.
Ronald closed the door behind him. “Take a sit.”
“Don’t bother, I’ll stand. Where’s Purity?” He didn’t want to spend time there, just to get Purity and move to a quiet place where they would talk. He hadn’t seen her after the previous night and was so worried about her. He badly wanted to see her. He knew it was going to be really difficult talking to her after what he’d seen that night. The anger was there, however, he still wanted to be with her, he craved for her. Now he was the one going after her- it was women that usually come after him. It was very different with Purity, he didn’t mind at all. Love could really change people.
“Purity’s not home.” Ronald flatly told hm, dragging him from his reverie.
Ronald’s words hadn’t sank into Jeremy’s head. He waited for few seconds to let the words sink in. “She’s not home?”
“I just said that.”
Jeremy was beginning to get angry. It was her fault, all her fault. They were to meet. She was the one to come to his office, but she hadn’t; he was at her home for her only to be informed that she wasn’t there. Purity Theodore, what is wrong with you?
“Where can I find her?”
“Um,” Ronald was confused. He had no idea what was going on between Jeremy and his sister. Purity was worse, she was acting strange and going back to her former self. “Should be at the company.”
“Thanks.” He could have gone there first. He turned his back to Ronald and went straight to the door.
Jeremy stopped walking and turned to face Ronald. He sent him a questioning look.
“What’s up with you two? Purity is weird.”
He smirked. It had to happen. “Normal crisis in a relationship. We’ll get it fixed. Bye.”
Jeremy found his way out of the house before he be interrogated by Ronald. Those inquisitive eyes and his puzzled look. Jeremy knew that if he started answering his questions, he’d never leave and his pending conversation with Purity would be post-poned and that would make matters even worse. Thank God he escaped. It’d be up to the brothers to figure out the whole thing for themselves. If they really wanted to know.
Hastily, he slid into his car and drove out of the Theodore’s duplex, going straight to the Theodore’s Enterprise. Purity, Purity, Purity. This woman was making him go crazy. He left his work just for her. How many women make him do this?
“Good afternoon, sir.” Heather greeted Jeremy.
Jeremy smiled in return. He took his time to examine Purity’s secretary. He remembered the first day he was there, it was really an ugly scene between them both. He hadn’t seen her since then. She was pretty and well mannered. He felt sorry for her, knowing she was putting up with Purity and all her crazy acts. Maybe the secretary wasn’t all that bad, but her big mouth was what made Purity treat her that way. His smile turned into a grin as he recalled that day’s event.
“How are you doing?”
“I’m fine, sir.” She replied, looking down.
Jeremy observed this, “Are you scared of me?”
She looked up at him and held his gaze. “Of course, not. Why should I be?”
He laughed loud. “You still remember what happened the first day I was here?”
Heather cursed that day. It was a very embarrassing day for her. She hated to remember it.^”Sir, why are you here?” Heather didn’t want to discuss that day.
Jeremy understood. “To see my fiancee of course.”
That statement surprised her. “But sir, she’s not here.”
“What do you mean by that? Didn’t she come to work this morning?”
Heather nodded. “She did. But left thirty minutes after she arrived. She was acting awkward.”
Oh, no. This can’t be happening. “Did she tell you were she was going?”
“Holy s–t!” he exclaimed, enraged. “What is wrong with her?” He couldn’t quite place his fingers on it. Something was wrong with that woman.
Still enraged, he went into her office. The door was unlocked. The room was neat and in order, as if she never came in. But the desk was disorganized. Seems she left in a hurry, as if running away from something, he thought to himself. He got to the desk and laid his hands on it. He saw a piece of paper in her writing and read it. “Country house?”
The weather was warm. The sun was shining brightly and the breeze moved about gently. The trees around danced to the tune of the breeze, the chirping of the birds filled the air. It was a peaceful, quiet environment- where one could relax, free away from the troubles of the busy, city.
She took in a deep breath and closed her eyes. The previous night’s event replayed in her head. It was like it was happening all over again, repeating itself.
“Jeremy did not keep any secrets from me. Yes, he was once a philanderer, but he’s a changed man. And yes, he changed for me and for me alone!” She had replied Ernest.
She could still recall his attitude. He was crazed with envy and jealousy. “You are being delusional. He doesn’t love you. He’s deceiving you. He’s a liar.”
Those statements drove her mad. He talked about Jeremy in a vile manner. She couldn’t bear it. She couldn’t take it. Her anger was out of control. Exasperated, she slapped him on the face. He really deserved that slap. At least, he stopped talking. But that was an error on her part. He got mad, really mad at her.
“You dare slap me?” his voice echoed in her mind. “You dare slap me? No woman lays a finger on me!” His eyes were black. His stare was cold.
She could feel herself shivering under those angry eyes. But her courage, her boldness was still there. “What are you going to do? Hit me back? Go on, do it!” She had dared him.
Ernest didn’t do it. He punished her. He took hold of her hand against her will and violently pushed her to him. He held her firmly on his body. If someone had seen them, he’d mistake then for lovers, for they had no breathing space.
She had tried hard, real hard to free herself. She begged him, pleaded with him. He didn’t listen. He only tightened his grip on her hand. It was painful, she screamed in pain. He hurt her – again. “You’re a b—–d!” She cursed him. “You’re a demon! A devil. I hate you. You will regret this. I promise you.”
Those insults just hardened his heart. He still held her. He sniffed her. He was sniffing her like a dog. It irritated her a lot. She could do nothing. Several minutes passed, she became weak and rested on is body. Exhaustion led her to do that. She was breathless. “d–n you!”
That was when the worst happened. She hated to remember this, but she had to. It was really scary to remember this, to think about this. Her body shuddered as this came to her.
“Let go!^Leave her at once!” She heard Jeremy command Ernest.
She was relieved. Happy someone had come to her rescue. It was the wrong person all together. Jeremy wasn’t supposed to see her with his cousin.
Ernest had obeyed. He released her and just walked away, like nothing happened, like he didn’t do any wrong. She had wanted to wring his neck, kill him slowly and painfully. She could not do that. Jeremy was staring at her with unreadable eyes. She had tried to read his facial expression, it was impossible. She had no idea what he was thinking. She stared back at him, giving him a look of contrition. She knew he was hurt, really hurt.
“I’m sorry,” She had muttered.
“You betrayed me!” he accused.
Those words had pierced into her soul. “It wasn’t intentional. You are getting it all wrong. Let me tell you what happened.” She tried explaining, he didn’t want to listen.
“This is our night and we’re gonna go in and act like we’re okay,” he had told her, “You’ll come to my office tomorrow and we’ll talk about this!”
She nodded and he held her and they went in. The rest of the night didn’t go well. It didn’t end the way they had expected it to. It was all her fault. Her attitude had changed and she wanted to be all by herself.
She wiped away her years with the back of her hand. Why was she crying over Jeremy? And she was running away from him. She couldn’t face him, not after knowing she’d betrayed and hurt him. She had never done this-betray someone or ever run away from a man. Why did Jeremy make her do this? She hated herself for hurting him.
Purity opened her eyes and saw Jeremy standing before her. She gasped. “What are you doing here? How did you find me?” She couldn’t believe it.
“I’ve come, to take you home, where you belong.”
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“What do you mean you’ve come to take me ‘to where I belong?’” Purity tried her possible best to hide her excitement. She was filled with joy. Jeremy had come to take her, not to fight with her. Her heart leapt with joy.
“You belong to me, with me. You are my wife, Purity.” Jeremy was very happy to see her. If he had not seen her, he might have died. The anger was there, but when he saw her, it all vanished. He really loved her.
“I’m not your wife. It was just want engagement party.” She grinned.
“And that means we’ll get married. Wait a minute,” he gave her a puzzled look. “Are you thinking of changing your mind?”
She made a face.^”I never said that.”
He heaved a sigh of relief and scanned her intently. “You’re crying. Why have you been crying?”
Hadn’t she wiped away all the tears? Oh, he had been watching her, silently. “Its nothing.” She became moody.
“Are you feeling guilty? You feel bad?”
Purity rolled her eyes. “Please don’t remind me of that. I deeply regret it.”
His heart went out to her. He really had to hear her out. He moved closer to her and took her hand. “You want to talk about it?”
She bit her lips hard and the tears fell. “Jeremy, please give me a hug.”
Jeremy took her into his arms and held her tight. He cuddled her like a baby. He wanted to protect her and make her his forever. She was so vulnerable. He was sure no man had ever seen her like that. He felt good being the first. “Sweetie, you don’t need to ask,” he whispered.
She didn’t reply. Her hold on him tightened. She felt warmth, inner peace and comfort in his arms. This was her place, where she belonged and where she wanted to stay forever. She smiled to herself.
“How are you feeling now?” he affectionately ruffled her hair.
She sighed deeply. She loved the feel of his hand on her hair. “Much more better. Thank you.”
“Aha! My princess has learned to say thank you.” His eyes twinkled. “What is this place?”
“It belongs to my father. Haven’t been here in years.”
He let her go. “Are you running from something?”
“I need to tell you something. Its important.”
He nodded. “I’m sure it is. Lets go in, then you can tell me all about it.”
Purity agreed with him. She guided him as they walked into the country house.
Jeremy admired what he saw. “Its beautiful in here.” He found himself a seat.
She sat beside him. “I’m glad you like it.”
“What you have to tell me, is it about what I saw last night?”
“Yes, it is. And a lot more.” She sighed.
Jeremy carefully squeezed her hand. “Honey, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. Its really troubling you. Tell me when you’re ready. Please.”
She faced him and let her fingers run under his. “I’m ready. If I’m not able to tell you now, I don’t think I’ll ever do it again.”
A smile formed on Jeremy’s face. He really wanted to hear her story. “I’m willing to hear it. But first, lets drink something, I’m thirsty.”
“What are you planning to do next?” Tricia questioned Ernest. She could not wait anymore. Jeremy, she wanted him on her side, she would forgive him for all the pain and embarrassment he had caused her or he would pay.
Ernest snickered. “Something I can’t disclose to you or anyone yet.”
“You can’t even give me a clue, an idea?”
“Nope. That’s not possible.” he wasn’t willing to risk a thing. He didn’t trust Tricia that much. She was obsessed with his cousin.
“Well, is it dangerous?” She had to get something out of him. She wanted to be involved.
He chuckled wickedly within himself. “I’m not telling you a thing,” he insisted.
She tossed her head this way and that. “Its obvious you don’t even trust me. I don’t blame you, but you have to. They are both experiencing a tough time and we did it together. We could trust eachother.” She sounded persuasive.
“Alright, fine. Its a little bit dangerous.”
She frowned. “Hope its not going to take lives, especially that of Jeremy. I won’t let anyone hurt him.”
“I have to go.” He walked out on her.
“Here is your drink.” She handed him a glass of white wine.
She closed her eyes and heaved a deep sigh. “This is my story.”
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Jeremy lovingly patted her shoulder, urging her to carry on.
She hesitated for few seconds. A lot of things were running through her mind. She was about to share her dark secret with someone, a man. It was something she had to do. She couldn’t lose Jeremy now or let their parents down. Her rules and promises no longer mattered, carrying out Emily’s last wish did.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Jeremy was already disappointed. She had always hated him. She’d never trust him. Why didn’t he remember that? His feelings just took control over him.
“It was my prom night.” Those memories came back to her, gradually. One piece ar a time. “My two best friends and I planned to be alone that night. While the rest had their dates and would be dancing, the three of us would be together.
“Before then, I had never had a date. Never had anything to do with boys. My two friends had and they were used, the boys they had relationships with toyed with their feelings. They were badly hurt-took them a great deal of time to recover. I didn’t want to feel that way. Never wanted to be heartbroken, so vulnerable and lost. That being the case, I ruled boys and men out of my life.
“On that night, I dressed beautifully. I was so gorgeous that men asked me out that night. I snubbed them all. I got to our school hall feeling confident and very happy. My aim was to make those other girls jealous of my friends and I. I got to the hall to meet the greatest shook of my life. My two friends betrayed me. Each of them had a date that night and they arranged a guy for me. They hurt my feelings so much. The reason they gave me was that I behaved like an old fashioned girl; a man could change my life and make me normal like other girls.”
A tear slid down her cheek. She really didn’t have to, didn’t need to, but she wanted to. She could bear the pains for now, soon it’d be all over. She dried the tear and continued.
“I really felt bad that my friends considered me abnormal because I refused having anything to do with boys. They went ahead and brought one for me. It hurt me so much. I felt betrayed, deceived and enraged at them. I was bitter, bitter at boys because they caused the rift between my friends and I. I poured out my feelings to them, how hurt I was. But still, they chose the guys over me.”
Purity’s voice was beginning to shake. The hurt and betrayal, she was feeling them again. The healed wound was opened and she let the tears fall freely.
“Stop. I don’t like seeing you cry.” Jeremy pleaded with her. He couldn’t take it anymore. A woman’s tears was what he could not stand. He felt her pain, it cut him deep.
“No,” she whimpered. “I have to tell you.” Nothing was going to stop her. “Infuriated, I stomped out of the hall. I got into my car and drove. I was very angry, I didn’t know where I was driving to. I was weeping bitterly as I drove. Then, I passed a bar. I reversed and went back to it. I smiled on seeing it. I wiped away my tears and applied more make up. My lips were coated with red lipstick-signaling danger.
“I grinned and went in. I was going to show those girls that I wasn’t old fashioned, I wasn’t gonna let a man hurt me, I’d be the one to break his heart. I began hating men more, for they were the reasons my friends left me. It was noisy, the music was very loud. Men and woman were on the dance floor enjoying themselves. It was D!sgust!ng to me. All forms of immoral acts were going on. My feeling of anger restrained me from leaving. I got to the counter and asked for drinks. I started drinking. I drank up to four bottles and was beginning to feel tipsy. That was when your cousin came to me.”
It was her fifth bottle. The feelings of despair was beginning to disappear. She was starting to feel normal, but in a different way.
Slightly drunk, but still knew what was going around her. She abandoned her drink on the counter to face the men and women. Silently, she searched for a victim, she was to break his heart.
“Hello pretty,” a masculine voice greeted her.
Sixteen year old Purity was excited. That was the first time she was called pretty by a guy besides her family members. Others referred to her as hot or s#xy. She smiled broadly and invited him to join her. “What’s up, handsome?”
He gracefully took a seat beside her. “I’m here for you, baby.” He leaned closer to her. “Hmm. You smell nice.”
Purity giggled. “You like me already?” She believed she was in full control of herself. Acting like she’s desperate was going to be fun. The fun was going to increase when she’d break his heart. Hurt him real bad.
“I do.” He was curious about this girl. This bar, he’d always visited and knew almost all the customers there. But this face, he had never seen before. She looked pure and innocent, why was she here? Her look was in direct contrast with the way she spoke. “Are you alone?”
“Yes, I’m all alone.” She emphasized. Making progress in her plan; she turned to face her drink. “Would you like some?”
He smiled. “I’d love to. I can never refuse such a pretty angel.”
“Bring more drinks!” She said to the waiter. “Since he’s taking his time, lets share mine. Please, come closer.” She folded her right palm and let only her index finger stand. She moved it front and back, urging him to move closer to her. She gave an innocent smile and giggled.
That was a bold step. How many girls are this outspoken? She wasn’t shy, she told him wat she wanted and didn’t feel guilty about it. Very different from her angelic look. Maybe she was, or the influence of alcohol? She doesn’t look like one drunk. Without much contemplation, he pulled his seat close to hers. “Its my turn to drink.” He took hold of the bottle and swallowed its content in one gulp.
Purity was impressed. “That was good. Very good.” She leaned to him and inhaled his cologne. Their faces were inches apart.
He wanted to taste her lips. He already had a little taste of it from the bottle. Those red lips. He loved danger. His pushed his head forward. To his utter dismay, she pulled hers back.
“No, no,” she used her fingers to caution him. “Its too early for that. Lets drink away our sorrows and unhappiness.” She handed him a bottle.
Sorrow. Then, she was sad, he mused. That’s the reason she’s here. He was going to know why and try to help her. “What’s your name? I’m Ernest, Ernest Turner.”
“I don’t give my name to strangers.” Purity chuckled. “That name- Ernest sounds nice. Hope you are earnest?” She asked rhetorically.
He held her hand and kissed it tenderly. He was glad she didn’t object. “I’m no stranger to you. We’re friends already.” He moved his fingers over her arm and loved her soft, smooth skin.
Purity didn’t flinch. She enjoyed every bit of it. A smile touched the corners of her mouth. “What name sounds so sweet that men would love to hear?” She never intended to give him her real name.
He continued touching her hand. “I don’t know. Um….. Something like Kaylee would do the trick.”
“Nope. Call me Melisa.” She took her hand back from him.
“Melisa. What are you doing in a place like this? What brought you here?” his curiosity had not dwindled.
“Forget about that. Lets enjoy ourselves.” She held up a bottle and took a sip. Deep within her, she didn’t want to take another drink. It was enough, all okay for her to carry out her mischievous plan. She always had her way and it should work well for her this time. She pretended to be emptying her bottles.
Ernest wasn’t smart enough to notice that. He really wanted this girl at all cost and was ready to do anything she asked. He drank and enjoyed watching the people dance.
They kept drinking- of course, Purity was faking it. Suddenly, Ernest grabbed her and pressed his body against her. “Melisa, I want you to kiss me, now.”
She wasn’t impressed, didn’t like that. “Hey! Let go!” She ordered. “That’s not how to treat a lady.” She frowned.
He instantly released her. “I’m sorry. How are you feeling?”
“Bad.” She confessed.
“I know what will make you feel good.”
That made her alive again. “I want to know.”
“Good.” Ernest requested for more drinks and placed them before her. “All these would make you feel better.”
Purity shrugged. “I don’t want to.”
“You have to.” he persuaded her. “Let me feed you.” He gave a grin.
She agreed and opened her much for him. It really felt good as the chilled drink slid down her throat. He was right.
“How does it feel?”
She closed her eyes and smiled. “Sweet.”
“Have more, my Melisa.” he smirked.