"Where are you coming from?" Startled, I turned to face the voice, recognizing it was my husband.

My heart skipped a beat when I saw Xavier on the sofa. I couldn't make out his face as the room was dark, but I could only see the outline of his form.

What is he doing here?

Wasn't he supposed to be at the party? Maybe the party was at noon. Yes, that must be it.

The light was flipped on. The sudden brightness blinded me and I shielded my sensitive eyes.

Xavier was settled comfortably on the couch that was at the distance of ten feet, pinning me with a withering look. A sense of power swirled around him. The man radiated power and control, even in a simple T-shirt and sweatpants.

My eyes flickered at the nearly half-empty pint of vodka on the table next to him.

Did something happen?

Why was he drinking?

"Where were you?" His voice took me out of my funk.

"Groceries," was all I said. His eyes traveled down my hand before returning to my face.

"Who was he?" His voice was calm, too calm for my liking.

What's wrong with him?

Why is he asking so many questions?

"I met him at the market, he just gave me a ride back to the house," I answered his query excluding the alley incident. I doubt he would care even if I told him.

He leaned down, making him comfortable. "You got inside a stranger's car?" He said in an accusing tone and gazed at me with his tranquil gaze. My stomach contracted at his tone and I looked at his face.


He sprang up from the sofa and took two steps over to me. "I?" He raised his dark brows quizzically.

"I..I, bag.. heavy," My words came out as nothing but a struggle. Neither was I capable of stringing my words into a proper sentence.

His face became strange with thoughtfulness. I waited for his reply in intense silence.

"Come here," he motioned to me with his finger.

Panic seized me, my leg refused to move, I stood rigid. I was afraid to move or even take a breath. He raked his hair back with his long fingers when he realized I wasn't going to move from my stop.

"Don't make me ask twice," His dark eyes reflected the hint of anger in his tone.

I never knew better than to test his patience. I placed all the bags on the furnished floor and began taking steps towards one after another, but I had hardly taken the fifth step when my foot caught in the rug and I stumbled. My eyes shut waiting for the pain, but it never came.

I slowly unrolled my lids and was directly met with the blue orbs. I realized my husband had his limps wrapped around my waistline restraining my fall.

"You're okay?" I was hypnotized by the mellow tone of his tone. He brushed a strand of hair from his face and stroked my cheek. "Be careful,"

Is he sick? Why is he acting sweet today?

I nodded my head in response, not trusting myself to make out a verbal response.

My eyes widened and my chest moved up and down in rhythm as my breath quickened as Xavier started leaning forward. I was sure he felt the rise and fall of my every breath. He stopped right as our lips were about to touch. My slightly parted lips just begging to touch his full lips.

Is he going to kiss me?

He said as he removed his arms from me and took a step back from me. "Don't get happy, I'm not going to kiss you," I lowered my gaze in shame, and a blush coated my cheeks.

Oh god, when will I stop embarrassing myself? You are so dumb, Hope.

"Look at me," he sternly demanded. My eyes glanced askance at my husband's beautiful neutral face, and my own assumed the timid, deprecating expression of a dog when it rapidly but feebly wags its drooping tail.

We stood there staring at each other for what felt like decades when suddenly Xavier's expression went from void to angry in the blink of an eye.

"Next time get into any other man's car. I will cut you into pieces," My eyes stretched in fright hearing his threatening tone.

"I-I won't" I instantly replied, knowing Xavier hates it when someone doesn't verbally reply to him.

"And?" Retaining eye contact, he challenged me.

"I-I'm sorry-y,"

Without a word, Xavier turned and walked away, disappearing after a few steps and his soft footsteps faded into the darkness.

A trace of his cologne lingered in the air and I closed my eyes, thinking of how exhilarating it had felt to be in his arms. My eyes snapped open as I realized what I was doing. He just threatened you to cut you into pieces and you are here taking a whiff of his fragrance.

I'm doomed to fall for the man unable to love me back. Shaking my head in disappointment, I headed towards the kitchen. I was starving since I missed both my lunch and snacks.

After I had my supper, I went to sleep almost as soon as I climbed to bed.


I was awakened by the insistent buzzing of the alarm. Letting out a groan, I stretched my hand and reached over to slap the stop button of the alarm clock on the nightstand beside the black base of a lamp.

I laid there still for a minute or so before cracking my lids wide. I was still feeling asleep but I knew I had my responsibilities and for that, I needed to get going. Getting off bed, I pushed my lazy and tired body to the bathroom. Locking the door behind me, I stripped my clothes until I was in a state of nature.

Turning the shower on, I waited for the water to get warm. Once the temperature was to my liking, I walked down the warm shower. The warm water cascades down my back, soothing my tense, tired muscles. After yesterday's incident, I really needed it.

After the relaxing short shower, I dressed in a plain black and white dress. I am sure I resembled a nun. Once satisfied, I headed for the kitchen to cook breakfast.

As I descended the long stairway, my palm caressed the smooth dark wood of the banisters. It might seem childish, but it itself is something I do daily.

Entering the kitchen, I found it empty like always. You might wonder why I have to get up early every morning and cook breakfast when we do have a maid for this work.

Well, according to Sandra, I'm taking advantage of them and living my life on my husband's money. So she wanted me to cook four-time meals by myself. Honestly speaking, I don't mind working. The only problem I have is how she addresses the matter.

I grabbed the pancake mix and made the batter and poured the pancake batter into the sizzling pan. Once I was done with pancakes, I grabbed six eggs and added two spoons of dry organic powdered milk because it adds creaminess and richness to the omelet.

Once I was done cooking, I began setting the table when the duo entered the room and took their respective seats without acknowledging me. And then he stepped inside, looking elegant in a dark tuxedo.

He took his seat. Sandra quickly grabbed a plate and filled it with the food before placing it in front of Xavier. Sandra might not be the nicest person, but one thing no one can deny: she is a wonderful mother.

Xavier mumbled a small thank you before digging into the food. Sandra and Soniaya did the same. I stood there waiting for them to finish their food.

It's what I do every day. They don't like me eating with them and I'm okay with it. Everyone deserves a peaceful meal.

"Xavier, why did you go to the party yesterday? You mentioned it was important", Sandra asked suddenly midway through the breakfast.

He sipped down the hot coffee and lowered the cup, staring down into the dark liquid "I was supposed to take my wife," His tone was nonchalant.

"I understand why you didn't want to go now," Soniya said. Her voice held a hint of sarcasm.

A wave of sadness pangged my being. Xavier hated me so much, he would rather leave something very important than be seen with me. My head dropped in shame and humiliation.

I took everything in me not to break down into tears. Is my relationship with my husband ever going to change? Am I hoping too much?

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