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Affliction – 8

Submitted by DuraLexSedLe

he lady who owned the house was very accommodating. She told me that I could call her anytime in case I needed anything. She was very sweet but I was in no mood to talk to anyone. I thanked her and she excused herself. She probably sensed that I was off.

My head was aching and my heart was still beating fast inside my chest. Every time I would close my eyes, I would remember Adam. I would remember how we fought. We had been together for years but this was the worst of all our fights. I had never been insecure about his life because I was secured but lately, I was spinning out of control.

I just f ucking needed a breather.

Spending my first day away from him, I ordered all the unhealthy food I could get my hands onto. I watched lots of TV and stuffed myself with pizza. I was thinking how he’d get mad at me if he saw me doing all these things. Adam had always reminded me to eat healthy.

I was f ucking ridiculous because even when I was far away, I was still thinking about him.

Stupid, stupid Bree.

I was just so in love with him but until when was love enough? I was hurting and I would never stay in a relationship if all we ever did was hurting. I saw enough of that with my parents. I didn’t want to subject myself to that horrendous kind of life. I didn’t want to stay in a marriage because it’s convenient. I want a life wherein I would look forward to waking up everyday because I loved my life… I knew I was being too ideal but was it that bad to hope? To wish for a life worth living?

The next morning, I had to hide my phone at the deepest part of the cabinet because I was tempted to call Adam. I would call him… but not now. We both needed this space. I needed to calm myself because I knew that fighting would do us no good. And I needed him to think about us, as well. I knew he loved me—I could feel it—but I also needed him to realize where I was coming from.

That I wasn’t totally irrational when I got mad at him for staying with hisex.

God, Bree! Drop it!

I went outside to take a walk. I wanted to jog because the weather was good but I didn’t exactly bring shoes with me. I felt like a rebel teenager running away from home because things didn’t go the way I planned.

As I was walking, I couldn’t help but feel sad. Adam used to walk with me. Even when he was busy, he always made sure that he had time for me.

I just finished my class for today when suddenly, someone poked me from behind. God knew how much I hated being poked so I was ready to give a piece of my mind to whoever did that.

“What the—Adam?” I asked, my forehead turned into a full crease. He was holding a coffee in his one hand and on the other, there was a piece of tulip.

“For you,” he said. “This one’s for me, though. I just finished a month’s worth of report so I need caffeine to stay awake. But if you want, I’d get you,” he continued while I was just trying to wrap my head around the idea that he was actually here.

I blinked once. Twice. I lost count how many times I blinked.

“I’m hungry. Lunch?” he asked.

But before I could answer, he already held my hand inside his and guided me inside his car.

“Why—what—why are you even here?” I asked, confused. I thought he had to spend a week in Paris because of an expansion deal so I wasn’t expecting to see him until tomorrow evening. I even restrained myself to call him because I knew how busy he could get. I didn’t want to cause any trouble.

“Didn’t you miss me?”

“Of course I do!” I answered fast and that earned me laughter from him. God, I missed those smiles, those laughs. “But why are you here? I thought you’re still in Paris?”

His smile faded but he was quick to hide whatever it was. I didn’t push him. He’d tell me if he wanted to talk. I didn’t want to invade his privacy because we’re still both entitled to one. So even though my mind was torturing me into asking him what that change in emotion was about, I constrained myself.

“I finished early.”

“That’s it?”

He nodded. And then pulled me and kissed my forehead. “And of course because I wanted to see you.” And that kiss melted whatever worry I had inside my head.

I should stop overthinking everything. I loved Adam. Adam loved me. For once in my life, I should stop worrying about everything and just enjoy this feeling.

We went to a Caribbean restaurant and ate lunch there. After that, we walked until we went inside a building. The sun was already beginning to set and I was admiring the beauty of the orange sky when I heard a noise.

“You’re leaving already?” I asked him as I watched the helicopter land.

“We’re leaving,” he answered.

“What?”

“I’ll tour you around Seattle. It’s best at night,” he said and I was just too tongue-tied to even respond. “Come on. I’d seen enough of Florida. Let me show you where I live.”

His offer was tempting… and the way he was looking at me wasn’t helping.

“But I have classes tomorrow…” was my last excuse because every fiber inside my body was begging me to say yes to him.

“I’ll fly you back and will even walk you to class,” he said and then kissed my knuckles. He looked at me with those eyes and I just freaking melted. God! Adam and his ways! “Please? Please, babe?”

I grunted.

“You’re always playing dirty.”

“So, is that a yes?”

I rolled my eyes. “Just make sure I’d enjoy Seattle,” I said and then stood up. “And make sure I’d be able to attend to my class.”

He laughed and then stood up, too. He kissed the side of my head again and then pulled me close. “Oh, you’d enjoy it, alright.” And then he kissed the side of my lips… just enough to send my heart into an overdrive and to make me want to kiss him and ravish him right here. “And you’ll get here in time. I know how much you value your education and you know I value whatever’s important for you.”

We rode his chopper and put the headphones on. He was holding my hand the entire time. I felt so secure—like this was where I belong.

Time passed by and we got off the chopper. There was a car waiting for us and while we were being driven, he was telling me all these stories about Seattle. He sounded like he was trying to sell Seattle to me.

“Why are you so keen on making me like Seattle?” I asked him.

“Because it’s my home.”

“So?”

“So what if we got married? You’d live in Florida and I’ll be in Seattle? Not that ideal situation, babe.”

He was talking like it was just an ordinary thing. He was talking about marriage like we had talked about it a million times before.

He was talking like he didn’t just almost cause me a heart attack!

My heart was racing inside my chest.

“Hey, you okay?” he asked when I wasn’t able to respond to his questions.

“Married?” I asked him, my voice lost in oblivion. My voice felt hoarse. My lips were trembling. I felt like jumping off the car.

“Yeah… That’s where we’re heading, right?”

“But we haven’t even said I love you yet…”

He cursed under his breath.

“F uck. Really?”

I was sure I looked confused. I knew we hadn’t said those words because if we did, I was sure I would never forget that!

“Sabrina Johnson, I love you. I love you,” he said while looking at my eyes. “F uck. I really thought I said that to you already. Maybe it was in my dreams.”

A smile formed on my face.

“You dream about me?”

“All the time, babe.”

I bit my lip to prevent myself from shouting. Damn this guy! He knew how to make a girl fall for him over and over again.

“What do we do in your dreams?”

He cocked his eyebrows. “Do you really want to go there?”

I slapped his arms. “Adam!”

“What? You asked me!”

I shook my head. This guy.

“But seriously, Bree, I love you. So much.”

I cupped his face and looked him in the eye. It was funny how much love you can have for one person. It was surprising how deep feelings become.

4 months ago, he was just some guy I met.

3 months ago, I finally admitted to myself that I loved him.

2 months ago, I said yes when he asked me to be his.

And now, we’re here. I knew it was fast but did time really matter when a heart felt what it longed to feel for the longest time now? I wanted this. I waited for this. I prayed for this.

And I was just excited to see what else life had planned for us.

‘That was years ago, Bree. Snap out of it,’ I told myself. People change… just like Adam and I. But I hoped that we could get pass this. We had so much in us… I didn’t want to give us up that easily.

But not now.

The sun was already beginning to blaze and I was starting to feel hungry so I went back to the house. I got the telephone and began to dial when I realized that there was no dial tone. I got my phone but the battery was already dead and I forgot to bring my charger with me.

Great.

I went outside and was pain-stricken when I saw roads leading to nowhere. There was nothing. I was so far off the civilization.

Thinking about how to feed myself, I heard someone starting a car. And true enough, a Ford pickup was getting out of a gate. I built the courage to approach whoever was the driving the car. I figured that if that person’s going to the city, I could hitch and then buy food and just take a cab back here. I knew it wasn’t the smartest decision but I was really starving… And it wasn’t like he’d kidnap me. No one here knew that I was therunawaywife of a billionaire.

So I politely waved my hand until the driver stopped.

“Hi,” I said while approaching the side of the vehicle. “Can I hitch? The telephone’s no use and I forgot to bring my—”

“Sure. Anything for a sexy lady.”

“I’m married,” I said.

“I don’t see any husband around.”

My jaw fell. Really?!

The smile from my face was wiped off. “On the second thought, I don’t need the ride anymore,” I said and then began walking away. What a jerk!

I walked away but I could feel the car following me.

“I’m sorry,” I heard the stranger’s voice said. “I was just kidding.”

I kept mum.

“I swear I’m harmless.”

Keep on walking, Bree.

“This is why you should stop joking around, Zach. Ladies think you’re a jerk. Stupid bloke,” he said. He’s mental. Why was he talking to himself?!

“Miss,” he called after me again. “Miss,” he said in a prolonged voice.

“What?!” I snapped when he kept on following me. I had been walking for 10 minutes and he had been following me for 10 minutes, too. He’s so annoying!

“Still need a ride?”

“No.”

“Come on. I was just kidding. I’m harmless, swear. My parents are happily married, my sister’s happily married, and my brother’s engaged. So really, destroying someone’s marriage isn’t a part of my plans,” he said. “So, ride?”

He’s so talkative!

I ended up riding in the asshole’s car. He was relentless! He wouldn’t stop bugging me until I said yes so I just did.

And now I was suffering the repercussion of my stupid decisions.

“So that’s the reason why I’m here. Life sucks, huh?” he said.

I reached for the stereo and turned the volume into full blast. I just waited for him to stop talking before I drowned the car in songs. I wasn’t that ill mannered to just cut him off when he’s obviously having fun talking about his life.

And what kind of person tells someone whom he just met about everything in his life? Only this guy.

He just shook his head and laughed at me while I was turning the volume up.

The whole ride almost killed me! When he figured he couldn’t annoy me with his unsolicited tales about his life, he stepped on the gas and drove so fast that I thought I was going to die!

“You freak! Slow down!” I shouted at him. We were still a bit far from the city and there were no cars near us so he must have thought how fun it would be to race against himself!

He laughed. “Scared?” he said in between laughter.

“You’re going to kill us both!” I said as I was holding on to the seatbelt—as if that would save me when we crashed against something.

“Come on! Loosen up a bit!”

“You’re a freak!”

“At least I’m not uptight!”

I closed my eyes as I feared for my life but even with my eyes closed, I could still his laughter. He was enjoying this way too much! Maybe he gets off seeing people almost peeing in their pants because of fear! This sadistic asshole!

Praying internally, he finally slowed down. I opened my eyes and saw a sign saying that we were approaching the city. God, I was safe! My hands were grasping tightly on the seatbelt so when I removed them, I was slightly trembling. I was really scared.

“See? You didn’t die, did you?” he said.

“I almost had a heart attack!” I hissed to which he replied with a laugh.

“Almost,” he replied. “You’re still alive.”

I was fighting the urge to strangle him, throw him out of pickup, and to drive away from this freak. He was just so annoying. Though I just met him, it seemed like he knew which buttons to push.

“Where are you going, anyway?”

“Grocery,” I replied.

He nodded and then drove silently. If only he could be this quiet, then I wouldn’t have these murderous thoughts against him. I have met many people from all walks of life but none annoyed me so much that I had these morbid thoughts. Only him. Only this sadistic asshole.

We stopped in front of a grocery store. Good thing he didn’t stop in front of the usual grocery store the maids go to. I wouldn’t want them telling Adam that they saw me. I still needed my away time from him.

And I think it was doing me good. I mean, I hadn’t thought about him for hours already. It was a good thing, right? Instead of sulking and thinking about him and his ex, I was thinking about other things…

It was an improvement, nonetheless.

I hopped off the car.

“Thanks for the ride,” I said to him. I hated the things he did but I knew how to be grateful. Though he almost killed me with hisdriving,I was thankful that he drove me here. If not for him, I would’ve starved.

His brows were cocked. “You’re not gonna ride back?”

“I’ll get Uber or something.”

“And here was I, thinking we’re already friends,” he said with what I assumed was a pout. “I sang for you, lady!” he whined like a child.

“I didn’t ask you to sing,” I replied with a frown when I remembered how he murdered one of the songs. He was way out of tune!

“But I was entertaining, wasn’t I?” He grinned.

“You’re hopeless.” I shook my head.

But he didn’t seem to notice—or maybe he chose to ignore my reaction. “I’ll just get something and then I’ll pick you up in an hour.”

“But—”

My protest wasn’t heard because he rolled the windows up and then began driving away. I knew him for hours only but he sure knew the way to make it to my most annoying people list.

Good thing I was wearing my hoodie because it was cold earlier. I pulled my hoodie up and went inside. There’s no harm in being careful. Though I wasn’t really from Seattle and I didn’t have much friends here, I couldn’t deny that this was Adam’s turf. And being that I was his wife, there’s still a chance that people might recognize me. And I didn’t need that trouble.

I went inside and grabbed a basket. I didn’t know exactly for how long will I continue this hiding from Adam thing. When I decided to leave the house, I was thinking that I just wanted to get away from him. I was really pissed that moment. But now, I kinda missed him already…

Trying to get these thoughts out of my head, I dumped whatever my eyes fancied inside the basket. From the rate I was going, it seemed like I was gonna stay in hiding for at least two weeks. But I thought it was better than to not have no food.

I also bought charger and before I knew it, I was done shopping. I was putting the grocery bags inside a pushcart when somebody got the bag from my hand.

“See? I can be a gentleman.” He put all the bags in the pushcart. “You’re gonna eat all of these?”

“Yeah. Got a problem with that?”

“You’re still pissed at me?” he asked with that annoying puppy face.

“How old are you?” I asked because he was acting like some teenager! I bet he’s older than me!

He gave me a teasing smile and I wanted to wipe it off his face. “You interested?” I raised my hand because I wanted to slap the back of his head. “Whoa, chill! We don’t have to get physical here.”

“We don’t have to if only you’d stop being annoying!”

“Well, I’ve been told that I’m endearing but I’d accept that compliment,” he replied and then opened the door at the backseat and put the grocery bags there.

“That wasn’t a compliment.”

He winked at me. “I know.” I just grunted because he’s just hopeless. I hopped inside and he started the ignition. On the way back, he kept on talking about his sister and how she was driving him insane. I tried to keep a passive face but sometimes, he was just too funny that I had to bite my lips to keep myself from smiling.

He talked about everything. His sister, his mom, London (because apparently he was from there and he just transferred here for work), and everything under the sun.

“You know, for a guy, you do talk a lot.”

“Is that a bad thing?”

I shrugged. I didn’t know how to answer his questions. I was just used to males who were quiet. My dad was quiet, Adam was quiet, and most guys I knew didn’t talk much around me because apparently, I intimidate them. So yeah, this loquacious guy was throwing me off my usual game.

“Well, I’d tell you the reason why I talk a lot but I also do know that there’s such a thing as too much information,” he said with a smile and for a moment, I saw something different.

We remained quiet for the remaining of the ride and when he pulled over, he helped me get the bags off his pickup.

“Thank you,” I said.

“No problem,” he replied. “I’d volunteer to help you get these bags inside but I know you wouldn’t want me stepping inside your house.”

I bit my lip and sighed. “Sorry if I was rude earlier. I think you’re quite a nice guy,” I said because he was kind to me this entire time. Maybe I was just rude because of all these fiasco with Adam. I wasn’t normally this hostile.

He said thanks and then we went our separate ways. Putting the grocery bags on the table, I went and charged my phone and once it opened, text messages began flooding.

Bree, where are you?

Babe, you’re making me worried.

Sabrina Johnson-Walton! God, just one text to tell me you’re safe. You’re making me worried!

My phone almost lagged with all the messages Adam sent me. There were also a few from Maya. She’s telling me to text Adam because he’s driving her insane already.

Bree, just tell your husband that u r OK. I know u r just away thinking and I’m not worried because I know u r a big girl already and you need that time. But pls tell Adam to quit harassing me because I legit dont know where you are. OK? Take care wherever u are.

I took a deep breath. My fingers were trembling and my heart was beginning to beat fast. I wanted to call Adam. I wanted to hear his voice…

“Just this one,” I whispered before I dialed his number. It was like he was waiting for my call because on the first ring, he answered already.

“God, Bree! Are you okay?” he asked, worry was laced in his voice.

I bit my lip and tried to calm my heart. Just hearing his voice was enough to make me want to come home. I wished I was with him so that I could touch his face and kiss him.

Why did we have to fight? Why did it have to go down to this?

“I’m fine,” I said.

“Thank God,” he said. “Where are you?”

I remained quiet.

“I just want to know if you’re safe, Bree… If you want more time to think, I’ll give it to you. Just please tell me where you are. It’s driving me insane.”

If I tell him where I was, would he come here and get me? I wanted him to come and get me and tell me that everything will be fine… That he wouldn’t talk to his ex anymore… But I knew it was impossible. She’s his ex. She’s from his world. It’s inevitable that they’d bump into each other and I knew I just had to suck it up.

But I couldn’t.

And that’s my problem.

“I’m okay, Adam. You don’t have to worry,” I replied.

He sighed from the other line.

“Is she okay?” I murmured. I didn’t have the heart to speak her name but I wanted to know if she was okay.

“Who?”

“Your ex,” I said and her name tasted like venom in my mouth.

“Yeah, she’s fine,” he responded.

“Oh.” It felt like a knife was stabbed in my chest. I was glad she was fine but somewhere inside me, I hated that Adam was worried about her. Did he go to her when I left? Did he hold her hand while she’s lying in the hospital bed? Was he there for her when I was crying because of our fight?

God! This was why I couldn’t come home just yet.

I wasn’t okay. And I didn’t think I’d ever be okay with him being friends with her.

“Bye, Adam,” I said and then ended the call without even waiting for his reply. I walked and then grabbed the bottle of wine that I bought earlier.

“Cheers to the ex girlfriends who kept on ruining marriages!” I said to myself as I downed the wine alone

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