After Mr. Jame left, I couldn't move. I sat frozen in place still trying to process everything. My heart was still in pain but it wasn't for me; it was for Artemis.
I still couldn't grasp what Mr. Jame had said about Artemis—a person consumed with revenge. The person I had hung out with yesterday didn't resemble anything close to that. He was happy. He was relaxed. He had shown me things. He had seemed...himself. Did I really do that? Was that all me? Would it be egotistical of me if I believed that?
The only time he had shown himself faintly to be a vengeful person was when I asked about his mom. However, the reaction was so subtle that I never knew the reason behind it until today. He kept a lid on that topic so tightly that I worried he'd snap if I push. Maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing if I start pushing a little.
I was so deep in thought that I didn't realize someone had come up behind me.
"Grace. Is that you?" A male voice asked and I automatically turned.
"It is you!" He said with a big grin on his face. "Are you okay?" He brows slightly furrowed. "I saw you sitting here staring into space for the last 10 minutes."
I gazed at him without responding and he said. "It's Erin. We met at the gala on Saturday."
I nodded as if to say I remembered. My brain was still too caught up to have a conversation at the moment.
His eyebrows furrowed further. "Are you okay?" He asked again and continued with another question after I didn't answer. "Did you just break up with your boyfriend or something?"
I gave him a light laugh. "No. I'm actually okay." I reassured him as the fog in my head started to clear up.
Instantly, I stood up as I realized something. "Sorry, but I have to go."
I ran out of the cafe and straight to my car. I didn't care about my lunch or my classes, I just wanted to see Artemis.
I just wanted to make sure he was okay. I know that might sound silly since I know that he is okay but a part of me just desperately wanted to see him. To make sure that he wasn't suffering alone, that I was here for him, that there was someone here who loves him.
I suddenly slowed down my pace. Wait. I love him? My pace got slower and slower and I stopped. Yes! Yes, I love him! I laughed as realization struck and I started running again, this time even faster.
Oh my gosh, I love him! The epiphany was so profound that it felt like my heart had sprouted wings and started to fly.
I had probably loved him from the first moment he made me cry when he didn't want to play with me because he was too busy practicing his acrobatic tricks on the trampoline.
I had probably loved him as I watched him play sports with adoration.
I had probably loved him when he patiently helped me with math.
All those moments when we were together as kids were so precious to me that they had stayed with me all these years.
Even though I had never dated anyone, I had hung out with a lot of guys when we were in groups. Subconsciously, I had always compared them to him. That they were not funny enough, smart enough, mature enough, sweet enough, out going enough, cool enough, athletic enough. I know, I was crazy for comparing them to a 12 year old kid but that was how high on the pedestal he was. The list of comparisons went on and on.
I finally got to my car, hastily jumped in and started driving out of the school parking lot.
I decided to call my mom to confront her about not telling me the whole story. I was actually not mad at my parents but I still wanted to let them know, that now, I know too.
My mom picked up after the third ring.
"Hi honey." She said happily.
"Hi mom. Guess what? I just met with Mr. Jame for a long chat. Guess what he had to say?" I teased and taunted her.
"I don't know, dear. What did he have to say?" She was not up to playing guessing games with me.
"Well, for starters, he told me that dad's company wasn't struggling." I paused to hear her reaction.
"Oh that." She laughed. For someone who was caught red handed, I was surprised that she could laugh about it.
"And that the contract was fake." I added, slightly resentful that she wasn't remorseful in the least.
"Yes, honey. The contract was fake." She said with amusement. "But the marriage certificate is real."
"Yes. That's what he told me. Mom, why didn't you guys tell me? Why the elaborate plan?" I was a bit hurt and whiny.
"We didn't tell you because we knew you'd run away just like how you ran away from all the other suitors." She answered easily.
"No, I wouldn't have." I said indignantly.
"Yes, you would have." She countered. "Just look at you, you’re 21 and just a few weeks ago, you were still single and had never dated a soul. Your father and I even said that if you were to bring home a girl, we would be fine with it as long as you dated someone." She laughed at her own joke.
"Mom!" I complained, not finding it funny.
"Even if you wouldn't have ran away, we couldn't guarantee that and took the risk. We wanted you to at least give the poor kid a chance and also give yourself one. You both deserve at least that much."
"He's 26 , mom. He's neither a kid nor is he poor." I rolled my eyes.
"You get the point." She chuckled and said with warmth. "And both of you will always be kids in our eyes since we watched you grow up."
"Mom, I think I love him." I suddenly blurted out.
"Yes, dear. I know." She said it so gently as if trying to have patience with a stubborn child.
"Wait. What?! How?!" I was flabbergasted. How come I didn't know and she already did?
"Well, honey, when you become a parent, you'll know. Being your mom for 21 years, I pick up a thing or two. I saw how devastated you were when he left and you haven't let anyone in your heart since."
"Oh Mom." I started crying. "I wish I had known earlier so I could have been with him sooner instead of letting him suffer all alone."
"It's not too late, dear." She tried to comfort me. "It's good that you finally realized it for yourself. You have your whole life ahead of you to love him and care for him."
"Okay." I sniffled. "Thank you, mom, for seeing what I couldn't see. I'm going to go see him now. Love you!" I said happily and excitedly.
"Love you, too."
This time I didn't have a problem getting to the top floor. Oddly enough, I didn't see the secretary at her desk. Well, it was still lunch time and that might have been why.
I decided I would wait for Artemis in his office and text him from there to let him know I was here.
When I cracked open the opaque glass door, I heard a delicate feminine moan. I looked into the office and saw Artemis making love to Samantha on his desk. Half of her body on the desk while her bare legs wrapped around his waist as they went at it.
A invisible knife immediately stabbed my heart and twisted it. I gasped at the pain as my hand gripped my chest tightly. I froze, my feet rooted to the spot, as more moans came and the sound of their love making drowning out everything else.
I didn't know how long I stood there, maybe 10 seconds, maybe 10 minutes. Finally, I roughly pushed the door wide open and made the couple jump.
They immediately looked my way and Artemis roared at me. "What the fuck! Who the hell are you and what do you think you're doing here?!"
It took some time for me to find my voice.
Finally, I said. “I'm your wife."
His face crumbled instantly and he looked scared and confused.
“How could you?!" I spat out hatefully as I turned and ran.
I didn't even bother with the elevator, I just ran toward the stairs. My eyes blurred and I couldn't tell who it was I just passed but it didn't matter.
I thought I heard someone call out 'Miss Taylor' but I didn't stop. My feet wouldn't let me stop. I ran down the stairs. I couldn't tell how many I went down but finally my tired legs stopped.
I crumbled to the door as I started sobbing. Did I make him wait too long? Was he just playing with me? Was Mr. Jame right about Artemis only caring about revenge? Maybe I was just a pawn in his game? How could he look so sincere yesterday? Was he acting all this time pretending to care for me?
My body racked as more sobs came. I was too angry, upset, sad and hurt that I just couldn't think logically and rationally.
Suddenly, my phone rang. I looked at it and the display said 'The Playboy.' I silenced it and gripped my phone tightly until my knuckles were white. The knife seemed to stab my heart again and twisted it left and right. I let out a loud heartbreaking sob as I clutched at my chest.
My phone rang again and the same name popped up. I silenced it immediately and threw it hard against the wall—hundreds of little fragments bounced back in different directions. My phone landed in a pathetic broken heap—exactly how my heart felt at the moment.
I blindly got out of the building. By the time I got to my car, I couldn't even remember how I got there. Did I take the elevator or the stairs? I couldn't tell. I drove aimlessly and after what it seemed like forever, I arrived at the summer house.
Why did I come here? I didn't even realize I drove that far. I walked to the dock and sat down at the edge. It was so quiet, I could hear my own heart beating. The water was so still, there was not even one ripple on the surface. Yet my brain felt the opposite—it was like someone had connected all the wires wrong and now it's all jumbled up.
Tears silently dripped down my face and my vision blurred but it didn't matter because my eyes weren't really focusing on anything at this point. Nothing external was registering—not the beautiful scenery, not the calm silence, not the fresh smell of grass, not even the sour taste in my mouth—all my senses numb.
I knew yesterday was too good to be true. Tears filled up my eyes again and I wiped at it angrily. Memories of yesterday came flooding back, and instead of bringing me joy, they only brought bitterness.
I brought my knees up to my chin and hugged them tightly as I sobbed into myself. They sounded ragged and broken even to my own ears.
After a while, my eyes hurt so much that I couldn't cry anymore. They were so puffy that I didn't think they'll go down for days. I got up and walked to the treehouse. I laid down on the bed as I stared at the ceiling. Through the window, all I could see was the blue sky. Somehow, even the sky seemed duller.
Suddenly, my body felt all the abused it had received from me today: my legs hurt from all the running, my eyes hurt from all the crying, and my head hurt from all the thinking. I closed my eyes to give my mental and physical state a rest.
I didn't know how long I slept but by the time I woke up, it was dark.
I slowly open my eyes and they couldn't open all the way because of how swollen they were. My hands automatically came up to rub my eyes and that only added more pain. I groaned.
I stumbled my way back to the car since I didn't have the flashlight from my phone to use and ended up with tiny scratches on my hands and arms as a result.
By the time I reached my car and got in, the dashboard clock said it was 10:00 p.m. I was too numb to register hunger or any other physiological needs. I just drove.
After two hours, I made it home. I didn't know why I bothered coming back here but I did. My legs carried me into the elevator and up to the penthouse.
I just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep. Sleep my sadness away, sleep my tiredness away, just take everything away and bring me a new beginning tomorrow.
The moment the elevator dinged and the doors opened, Artemis suddenly appeared out of no where and roughly grabbed my shoulders. "Where the hell have you been? I've been looking everywhere for you for over 10 hours." He shook me. I didn't even feel the pain from his fingers digging hard into my arms.
I stared at him blankly and said unemotionally. "Just leave me alone."
"Grace." His handsome face full of concern as he said my name lovingly.
"I..." I blacked out before I could say 'I hate you.'
Dear lovely readers,
I hope I made you cry. Wait. Did that come out a little more evil than I thought? Lol
Anyway, I had a lot of fun writing the last chapter. I’ve spoiled you guys and got 4 chapters done. Horray!!!
Hope you guys enjoy them and let me know what you think ;)
Thank you again for all the support!
PS: You knew this chapter was coming right? Lol ;)