ZEE WAS STILL unsure of how to begin, so she just decided to say it as it came to her. “Someone is going to send you pictures of the event.”
“That's interesting. And I think it would make for some good entertainment, so I look forward to that.”
“No,” Zee said in a rush. She could not help her anxiety.
“I mean, there will be strippers in the pictures.”
A pregnant silence passed between them.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. Strip what?”
Zee found herself swallowing hard with rising tension. “Strippers.” She said quickly. “But I didn’t bring them. It was a setup and…”
“Hold on. You mean to tell me that you had strippers at that party.”
WAKING UP TO a new day was often a source of joy to Zee, but not when she was feeling troubled. Still, she managed to go through the morning motions of chores and cooking with her mother who was now spending more time at home. For the first time, her mother noticed her mood as they made egg sauce in the kitchen. “You’re kind of distant.” She observed. “Mum, that’s a first,” Zee responded. Her mother smiled. “Then you should give me some credit, I guess.” “Oh, mum. You’ve been trying and I do appreciate it. But I’m fine.” “Are you sure?” “Yes.” “I understand if you’re getting the wedding jitters.”<
IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE wedding rehearsal, Michael would not let Zee out of his sight. He held her hand, which created the impression that they were enamored with each other. She maintained a happy demeanor but deep inside, she was praying for a miracle. She barely prayed on a normal day. Her family believed in God but they just were not as dedicated as Inara’s family. Michael kept her close beside him somewhere near the altar and kept talking to her softly. To others around, he was saying something loving to her, because the expression on the handsome features of his face was generally pleasant. It gave off a relaxed air around him but in reality, he was making subtle threats, telling her how he could not wait to properly address her latest episodes of misbehavior, as he put it. Few seconds after her desperate silent prayer, she saw her father excuse himself from the company of her mother and Reverend Anthony. Then he started advancing t
A FEW MOMENTS LATER, Zee spent some time with her family eating popcorn as they watched a movie in the living room. Israel fell asleep on her lap after some time during the movie and she laid him down on an unoccupied sofa there in the living room. After the movie ended, they said their goodnights, and her parents carried Israel with them as they returned to their room while she returned to her bedroom. As she reached her door, she felt her energy deplete suddenly, making her pause. She knew that she had gained several years. That horrible feeling was still scary even though it was no longer new to her. She reached for the door handle and was not surprised to find her hands wrinkled. She quickly opened the door and let herself inside the room. Then she locked the door and hurried over to the dressing mirror. Her reflection showed a mid-fifties version of herself. “Damn you.” She cursed at her reflection. Then she sat down and picked up her phone from
SOME MOMENTS LATER The choir sang the song from the wedding rehearsal about God blessing their union, as a flawless-looking Zee walked down the aisle in her father’s arm, her train, behind her. Beneath the veil, her eyes were on Michael who was standing gallantly before the altar with his men by his side. With Lemuel’s promise to help her, she was feeling way better but she was still scared. Still, it was inevitable that she become Michael’s wife. Michael watched his bride approach. She looked astonishing, pure, and untainted. This was the final step and she would be his. He was overwhelmed with feelings of pride that intensified more than they did during the wedding rehearsal. He could not wait for the ceremony to be over so he would take her home. Then the games would truly begin.
AFTER PHOTOGRAPHS AND felicitations that followed their joining, Zee found herself seated beside Michael in a Limousine. It was a 1952 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith with an impressive black and white exterior accented with luxury-screaming chrome. With its massive headlamps and elegantly curved fenders, the vehicle was classy and vintage, making Zee feel like royalty. They were still in their wedding clothes and he was reading something on his phone. They had not said a word to each other since getting into the vehicle. After throwing her bouquet which had been caught by Michael’s sister, they had said their goodbyes outside the church and he had immediately lifted her off her feet to the cheer of eyewitnesses, amidst which he had carried her to the luxury vehicle and gotten her inside before moving in beside her. Then the driver who she could re
Michael helped her to fix her clothing. Then he let his gaze arrest hers. “Tell me how much you enjoyed that.” At his words, shame overwhelmed her. They both knew that her body had said it all but she managed to hold onto some of her pride. She didn’t want her response to give him complete satisfaction. “I had no choice.” She responded, realizing that she sounded a bit breathless. She blamed it on the intense orgasm she had received at his hands. He tilted his head to the side and a sneer appeared across his lips. “Hmm. Forced pleasure, huh? I see it’s good for you then. Shall we go again?” He watched her blue eyes widen with panic. “No, please.” “No?” he questioned. It hinted at his warning against refusing his advances.
MICHAEL’S HOME WAS situated in an estate. The estate was large, gated, fenced, and boasted of extensive acres of orchard and several duplexes. Each duplex was wire-fenced and fitted with a fountain, garden, relaxation huts, and swimming pool. There was a field inside the estate with a basketball court and a mini-stadium. The duplexes were close to ten in number, each of them, imposing. The jet landed on an expanse in proximity to the field inside the estate. Minutes later, Zee found herself beside Michael again as a vehicle conveyed them towards one of the duplexes. It was even more imposing at closer range. Her eyes were focused on the window. “This whole place is extensive,” she commented. “This is the Ray Residence, the home of the Rays,” Michael explained. She pointed at the duplex th
“That girl is not your problem. Do you think I don’t know how some certain girls can behave out of spite? I do but that’s not my concern. My problem is you went to that hotel and generated a fake invoice and then sent me another altered invoice for the real venue that you had already paid for. My accountant raised a brow at that one immediately because your invoice couldn’t pass authentication. I had to send one of my men to ask questions and boom, the truth became glaring. Hence, I knew the truth even before personally sending both payments to you, Smartass.” “I didn’t mean…” “Keep your mouth shut.” He interrupted her sharply, silencing her again. “You knew what you were doing. To cap it up, I received your annoying stripper madness pictures from Cassandra. I know she did it out of spite but still, it beats me. Can you explain how Cassandra and her friends got so close as to influence your