Finally Free

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a short story I compiled for a women's magazine competition. It had to be about something that interests women in general but, as I'm not really into romance I made it a bit of a supernatural mystery. It's very short and the bulk of the content is a little true - to - life.

Submitted: September 09, 2018

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Submitted: September 09, 2018

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From the outside looking in you'd think I have the perfect life, but you couldn't be more wrong...

All this material...stuff is supposed to make me happy...I suppose some girls would be, but not me. He thinks he can buy my love, or is it my loyalty? Well, you what? I'm not that cheap and certainly not that shallow.

When I arrived in this supposedly exotic country with my head full of dreams, I never thought there'd be someone out there waiting to snatch it all away from me. Of course, he swears he loves me to the Moon and back, though the way he treats me it's really hard to believe.

You see ever since I was a little girl all I wanted to do was travel. I'd sit on the stairs and just pour over my Dad's atlases wondering what all these other countries were like and how did I get there.

Then, the thought occured to me I've been on stage for half my life and that's how I was going to do it: my way out of this dire town was my dancing. I knew it would be hard work and probably full of disappointment, however, I was willing to try. The endless auditions and rejections that followed would be enough to make some people give up in one way or another...not me though, it just made me more determined. I convinced myself the end result would all be worth it and whatever else I achieved on the journey would make it taste even sweeter. Little did I know it was the 'who' I would meet that would give it the bitterness.

It's funny how you can believe that certain events only happen on the telly or in films...You never expect to meet particular people or be involved in dicey situations, but life is truly stranger than fiction. It took me a couple of years to figure out what he was and 'the business' he was in but, by then it was too late - I was trapped. At first, he was very attentive and kind even taking me out after I'd finished work. Sometimes,he'd send someone to pick me up to take me to him and still the penny didn't drop. Then, the pressure started,the constant asking where I'd been. Who was I talking to. I wasn't even allowed to go out with the girls I worked with. Well, I did if I didn't tell him I was going out in the day. I could get away with that because we didn't live together at the time

You see he just expected me to sit and wait for him to turn up when he felt like it. I said he 'expected it', but that doesn't mean I actually did the sitting around. One time I hadn't see him for two weeks and was, surprisingly, worried sick. Finally, I met up with one of his brothers only to be told he was in prison! The worst thing was I wasn't even allowed to see him. Then it really hit me...What am I mixed up in?  I don't need him for the money he lavishes on me, I have my own from the job that brought me here in the first place. It goes so far I can't spend it fast enough, but if I tell him about it he'll spend it on gambling.

Oh...yes, an illegal gambling ring he runs. Well, that's part of what he's involved in the rest is anyone's guess. Like his name...He tells me it's Emerson, but now I even wonder about that.His I.D. card and passport say as much, but corruption is rife here and money can buy you anything. Even a fake identity and... it's cheap.

I can't believe it's come to this when I used to have such a carefree life with the other girls I work with. We only work a few minutes at night and are paid very well for it. We're so close to the sea everywhere is still open when we finish, so we go to a restaurant instead of going home. Other times we drive to one of the beaches at sun-up and lie there for most of the morning. One of the girls'boyfriends has a boat, we're invited to spend the night on the sea, complete with waiter service. It's bliss.

It was once an idyllic life and at first he didn't mind me spending time with my mates, then he saw the attention I received from other men because of my blonde hair (as you may have guessed, everyone else has black). I told him I was insulted at his insecurity and resented the fact he believed he couldn't trust me. It subsided for a while until I found out why he appeared not to be bothered. He revealed he was having me followed every time I went out. Then it all made sense as to why he knew where I'd been and who I'd spoken to. It was relentless. He even resented me ringing my parents back home due to the issue of him not speaking English. For some reason he thought I might be telling them something I shouldn't. Or maybe it was because he thought it wasn't my parents. However, it didn't stop me contacting them.

What he doesn't know is, I now have a new development in my life, a person that actually cares about my feelings. Yeah, he's given me the usual adoration they do when you first meet, but this is...different. I know I'm not just a trophy because of the colour of my hair, he treats me like I'm an actual living, breathing human being. He doesn't question me or try to make me feel guilty about being myself. There is something unusual though, he just turns up out of nowhere. Literally, appears from thin air. I've not really thought much about it until recently and now that I am, I'm a bit spooked. He's asked me to leave with him so we can be together forever. Actually, his exact words were 'for all eternity'.

At first I didn't think anything of it and laughed a little thinking how romantic he is. Evenso, I had to tell him I don't want him to get hurt. Emerson isn't the sort of bloke you want to upset.

His confident reply to that was, 'Tabitha, nobody living has the ability to cause me harm.'

That had me intrigued if not a bit scared. It made me think am I out of the preverbial frying pan into the fire? I'm not the unfaithful type so I'm not about to go rushing off into the sunset with this delightful fella, even if he is to die for. You know what though? this is going to sound incredibly naff, but when I look into those incredible green eyes I feel like I'm sinking in to oblivion and if he told me to jump off a cliff because I could fly, I'd believe him. In fact, I'd believe anything he told me with no hint of doubt. It scares me I could allow myself to be that submissive when I'm always battling against Emerson's tyranny. Maybe that's it...He's from another life...Or another world... As that thought digests I realise I'm quite serious, because I do believe in all that spiritual stuff, it's compelling and I don't want to believe that this existance is the only one I'll get, or am worthy of. There has to be something else, something more. This wonderful creature that calls himself Jenson tells me there is. Well, he hasn't actually said those words, but the metaphor is there.

A voice interrupts my daydream. 'Tabitha!'

The bedroom door flings open with Emerson standing there...and I'm not ready...My stomach completes a whole somersault as I catch sight of him in the huge Art Deco mirror wearing that navy blue pin striped suit and black silk shirt I actually fancy him in.

'What are you doing? You've been in here ages!'

Nervously, I say the first thing that pops into my head, as I fiddle with the hair straighteners.

'Yeah, I couldn't do anything with my hair.'

He knows I'm never satisfied with it so it's not such a massive lie. I didn't realise I'd been so long and it infuriates him. I don't care, have such contempt for these parties anyway.

He's impatiently edging over to the bedroom door, 'Come on, you look stunning.'

The tone of his voice makes me stand up to grab my clutch bag; throw in my mobile and makeup. All the while he's looking me over...it makes me jittery, like he suspects something.

'You know I adore you in that dress. Now come on or we're going to be late.'

A smile slides across my lips, while I breathe a sigh of relief. Anyway, I don't care if we're late, this shindig is about him, but I do know he's not trying to pacify me with his compliments- it's one of his more admirable traits: If I were to be seen in public not looking a million dollars, it reflects on his honour. Needless to say, only the best for us. This dress is made to measure and, if I'm honest, it's probably my favourite too it, does make me feel really glam with the slinky fit. Actually, it was he that had it made for me and it had to be in blue - especially cornflower blue, that's what he likes to see me in. Urgh, it peeves me to say that.

While we drive over to his cronie's private island hide - away, in our over-priced car, I can't help wishing I was on my way to see Jenson. I wouldn't care where we were he just makes me feel good about myself. I don't hate Emerson, just the way he tries to make me believe I'm stupid. I can have anything I want, but I ask for nothing because that's not what I'm about. Jenson, has only offered me his time and that's what I appreciate from a man. Emerson seems to begrudge me any.

'You okay, princess? Hey...' He squeezes my hand with his a grip that hurts my fingers.

'Oh, sorry...sorry, I was just thinking...'

'Oh were you now? Anything I should be worried about?' A sneaky smile creeps across his mouth.

Hmmm, is that sarcasm or fear? I look him right in the eye, 'No, it's fine... I'm fine. Honestly,

I just don't like these parties.'

Of course, I do mean that, but it's not the only reason my head was somewhere else.

He strokes my face, 'I know sweetheart, but I like you with me.'

My reply to that is in my thoughts...yeah, only when it suits you and just to keep an eye on me.

When I first started dancing at the club, Emerson wanted me to end my contract, but I stood firm - initially denying him the power he now has over me. He says his culture doesn't allow women to work. That's not at all true, it's this way of life that doesn't like its women to work because of the code of honour. It makes him look as though he has no control (over me)and brings shame on to him. It also makes it appear that he has no money to fund our lifestyle if I have to work. Credit where it's due though, eventually he's accepted that I like working and that my culture is different.

Evenso, my resolve has been slowly chipped away by his manipulation, but somehow I've managed to hold on to my job as the only bit of independence I have. Don't worry I'm not naive enough to believe that if I left it, he'd spend every waking moment with me.

There are times he'll say he's coming to meet me from work and doesn't turn up. Or, I can be waiting at his villa after rushing to get there after work and he doesn't arrive. Trouble is, I don't know what's going on. It could be business. It could be other women. I just don't know and I'm told not to ask questions. I've figured it's best not to know and maybe that's what he means too.

Anyway, here we are... I'm dreading getting out of the car to pretend I'm glad to be here.Security opens the door allowing the cooling sea breeze to blow my hair off of my shoulders. I get a waft of my perfume...for some reason it sparks an unknown memory... I don't rush to get out as Emerson waits at the front of the car. Slowly I walk up to him, he slides his arm around my waist to let me know I am his. While we make our way up the driveway, the roar of the incoming waves can still be heard over the music, which fights with the rush of the wind through the palm trees. Champagne corks pop, mixed with shouts of loud cheers. The sight of the architect - designed house comes into view with the panoramic views of the ocean, it should be calming, but I want to run away from it all.

Most girls from my background would be excited at such a scene but I find it distasteful. Everyone is so false and all too ready to stab each other in the back. The girls are only with their men for the money and don't even seem to care about losing their self - respect. Emerson says one of the reasons he likes me is because he had to fight for my attention rather than me falling at his feet. I told him I'm not that desperate for the attention of a man! At least it made him laugh.

Time to put on a brave face as we enter the cool white marble hallway Instantly, I recognise a stranger eventhough he has a familiar face and looks directly at me. Emerson starts to mingle dragging me with him, but I feel isolated. Suddenly, a coldness washes over me and I want to escape.

'I need to get out, Emmy.'

It's oppressive and heavy in here even if I do feel cold, it's something I can't explain.

'Why? we've only just got here.' He sounds a little bit miffed.

For a split second I have to turn my face away from him, 'I'm too hot, I feel faint. I'll sit down outside, I'll be fine.'

His glare is a little overwhelming, 'Okay princess, let me send someone with you.'

'No, really I'll be alright.' I don't want any of his posse hovering around me watching me breathe.

'Don't wander off too far or I'll send someone for you.'

Yes, I've no doubt you will! Says a silent voice.

I can't get out fast enough, nobody notices me struggling to keep my composure. Once I'm out on the patio, the sensation dissipates, however there's an invisible presence around me.

'We meet again, dearest Tabitha.'

I spin round so fast I nearly fall over. There's no-one here. Then a laugh... Right in front of me is...I'd know those eyes anywhere...

'How...? How did you get in here!'

He pretends to be offended, 'You're not glad to see me?'

Obviously I am, but I'm also very afraid for him.

'We can't be seen talking together, Jenson, it's too dangerous.'

'Oh don't worry, only you can see me!'

I'm speechless, he's so matter - of - fact. Meanwhile, whoever is watching will be thinking I'm losing my sanity apparently chatting to myself.

'I...I don't understand what you're saying.'

When I said he was different I didn't mean I knew he was invisible! If that's what he's saying.

Calmly he says, 'Just come with me.'

His calmness makes the situation seem normal but a sense of defeat stirs inside me, 'You know I can't do that, Jenson.'

He takes hold of my hands, 'Of course you can, they won't ever find us.'

Shame rears its decisive head. 'It's wrong, I shouldn't be doing this..'

'Emerson will soon forget you, don't pity him. Why should you live your life to suit him?'

'It's not just Emerson, it's...it's...'

'See you have no excuse so stop trying to make one.'

Any minute now, I'm scared he will come looking for me, then my mind will be made up. Jenson is right, I'm tired with this life and desperately want to say yes. So why can't I allow myself a chance of happiness...

The mistake is looking into those eyes...

My mouth slowly opens and whispers, 'Okay, I'll come.'

Calmness envelops me, as he encircles me with his arms.

'Listen to me, Tabitha. Do not be afraid of what is about to happen. You must trust me.'

At this moment in time I'd believe anything. I don't know if it's magic, a dream or if I've been drugged. All I know is I don't want to be dominated by Emerson and his life anymore.

'What do we do now?' I can't take my eyes off him, but can still hear the party, it's surreal.

'Don't try to struggle, you will be safe.'

The wind whooshes around us, but I can hear voices shouting my name...I'm compelled to answer, but...

Nerves start to get the better of me incase Emerson gets to me first. 'He's coming! I've got to go, he'll be so mad.'

The voices seem to be getting nearer.  They'll be really confused, wondering how I've gotten away so quickly with no-one seeing me. I can't figure out if Emerson is panicking or just annoyed.

'Don't worry they can't see us anymore.'

'Oh...really? H...How...? What do you mean?'

All these thoughts rush through my head: will Emerson miss me at all? I wonder how long he'll search for me before he gives up? He'll probably just think I've fallen into the sea or somehow managed to sneak off. I hope I meant something to him with all that he put me through.

'Ssssshh, it doesn't matter now. It's time for you to experience real happiness.'

Well, I suppose Jenson is right.

Finally... I am free.

 


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