BY BLESSING SILVER
Bella set dinner on the breakfast bar with two bottled water beside them. Maurice walked into the kichen, a small towel dangling around his neck and his curly hair deemed from the shower as droplets of water fell to his face, making him look gorgeous and amazing. Bella controlled herself from drooling and staring too much. She faced her meal and started eating, Maurice grab a chair and pulled his meal closer. He took his spoon and faced Bella, his brows narrowed a little when he saw her chewing her food with what he could say was with all her dexterity or rather most. She kept puffing and puffing her cheeks with food and chewing with difficulty.
“You could get indigestion if you keep eating like that” he said and she looked at him then away.. She stopped to catch her breath and chew on the food in her mouth while trying her best not to look at him.
“I guess I’m just really hungrier than I thought” she said, waving her hair back .
“Why? Did you skip lunch” he asked and she shook her head.
“I had lunch,” she paused as she remembered how Ray pecked her “let’s not talk about it” she said and puffed her mouth with more food. Maurice shrugged and started eating, giving Bella a quick glance at interval.
Bella did the dishes after dinner and went straight to bed, she slumped on her bed and took out the shell, opening it she took out the magical mirror and tried to make it connect to her mother but it failed, she tried and at the second trial it connected and her mother’s face appeared..
They talked for hours before the screen finally went back to it’s normal state.. She kept it and stood up to change into her pajama, she might’ve skipped the notice but lately she’s been acting more like human.. She’s used to almost all their way of living and things that they do, she even had a phone and she knew how when to wear an evening dress and how to take care of her body.. She’s even in love with a human and she had friends that loved her . Well, that’s because they all think she’s a human, Bella ran a hand through her necklace, the only thing that could bring people around her to hate her, the only thing that can make the one she love dearly to detest and scorn her if she took it off. The thoughts of Maurice looking at her with so much resentment and hatred made her shudder and she slowly laid on her bed and tossed to the other side, she turned the light switch off and drew her duvet up to her hand.
Bella slowly opened her eyes and it met with the darkness, she blinked and looked around but the darkness couldn’t let her see anything. She felt the increase of her heartbeat as she used her hand to feel anything but they only rode on the smoothness of the surface she was sitting on..
“Hello..” She called out loudly “is anyone here!” She yelled but no response, not even the movement of a feet. The silence was bizarre and it drew fear to her system..
She was about saying when suddenly the once dark room became bright as several light took turns to t-rn on, she looked around sharply and realized she was in an empty, dirty storage room; her heart thumped louder. She made to shout when she sensed a presence close to her, she raised her head and saw Maurice, he was in a dark tuxedo suit and black p-nts. She smiled as the ray of hope beamed at her, she stretched her hand for Maurice to help lift her up and he took two steps towards her but stopped abruptly and suddenly his eyes darkened and his fist tightened.. The once friendly look he had on her changed to that of what she could call hatred, anger, resentment, betrayal and regrets. She froze at the sudden change of countenance and traced the part of her body where his eyes rested on; it was on her legs. And her heart leapt to her mouth when she realized that the lower part of her body were no longer legs but a mermaid tail!. She looked back at Maurice in alarm and sobriety.. “Maurice I–
“I hate you” those three words struck her hærd like a sharp edged sword and she felt it shattering right in front of her. “M-mau-maurice.. She stuttered, a tear making the rest of her words frail.. Many more followed and from her tears filled eyes she saw Maurice walking away until she could see him no more, she slumped and cried and the tears clouded her eyes making her vision blurry. She blinked once, twice and thrice…
… “Maurice!” Bella jumped off the bed, her heart thumping loudly and sweat trickling down her forehead. She stared at her surrounding in alarm and yanked the duvet off her body.. She calmed a bit when she saw she had legs and not tails, she quickly reached for the necklace and breathed out when she felt it. Her breathing increased as she thought of the awful-toe curling nightmare she had. She quickly pushed herself off the bed and walked out of her room to Maurice’s but his door was locked, she knew he must be asleep since it was already mid-night but her mind and the nightmare she had told her the opposite… Had Maurice left her?
Maurice watched Bella retire to bed after dinner, on a normal day she would’ve stayed with him in the living room.. Stuffing her face in movies. He let her go off her and relaxed to do his assignment, he called Diane after that and they ended up spending an hour on facetime with him doing most of the talking. She told him she’d be coming back soon and they called it a day. He retired to bed and covered the duvet to his neck, he turned and drew a slightly big necklace box close to him. He looked at the emptiness and sighed.. He knew he couldn’t find the necklace any longer, one of the best memories of his mother was gone.. Ordinarily he would’ve sent a lot of mariners in America to search for it but he didn’t and he didn’t know why. He sighed and ran a hand through the glass box before setting it back on the s₱0t, very close to the lamp stand and to the bed. He turned the light off “goodnight mom” he said and settled to sleep. He hadn’t drove far into dreamland when a rough sound jerked him to reality, he sat up and rubbed his eyes, looking for where the sound came from.. Could it be rats?
He scanned the room again when the sound came again and he realized it was only a knock on the door. He stood up and walked to the door, a little frightened.. “Who’s there?”
“I-it’s Bella” the respond came out low but clear enough. He pulled it open and Bella stood here, her eyes baggy and her face sweaty.
She quickly moved in and hugged him tightly, almost pulling him down by the quick action.. She rested her head on his chest and felt his heart beating, she calmed down. Maurice could hate her all he wants in the future, she could probably partly live with that but right now, when there’s still time she has to make him love her.. To spend so much time with him and live with him like only he existed.. She needs to make unforgettable memories.
“Bella that’s..enough” Maurice said, waving his hair to the back and Bella pulled away from him.
“Sorry.. I just really needed that,” she looked down. “Are you okay? You look sick..
“I’m fine. I just had a nightmare” she raised her head up at him “it was scary” she said, a little shaken and he looked at her with concern.
“You can tell me about it tomorrow but you have to go back to sleep now..
“I can’t sleep,” she paused “alone” she added “can I stay the night in your room. I’m scared sleeping all alone”
Maurice looked thoughtfully at her for a while and he saw the sincerity in her eyes.. “Um, okay. Come in” Bella passed in and he locked the door.
“You can use the bed, I’ll stay on the couch” he said, grabbing an extra bed spread and duvet. “No..” She held his hands “can’t we stay together on the bed?” Bella asked, scared he was going to runaway if she stays away from him.
“What?” He asked, unsure of what we heard. “I’m still frightened from the nightmare, I’m scared of staying by myself” she said, her voice a little low.
“Please” she begged “just for tonight” she pleaded, beads of sweat rolling to her cheek. “Are you sure you’re not sick”
“I’m fine.. I just need someone close to me, I want to be sure I’m safe” she said and Maurice couldn’t resist. Sincerely she looked really fragile and scared right now, he couldn’t leave her all to herself. She must’ve seen a monster in her nightmare to be this scared, he also had limited time before work hours click.
“Okay..we’ll sleep together” Bella let out a slow smile and they moved to the bed and laid, Maurice covered the blanket..giving Bella more than he took. He shifted a bit apart and Bella grabbed his hand and wrapped her palm around his.
“I feel more comfortable like this” she said
“Okay” he mumbled before lying beside her, with their palms still together. He turned off the light.
“Goodnight Maurice” Bella mumbled sleepily.
“Goodnight” he said.
The next morning Maurice was set to leave for school, clad in a white long sleeve shirt and a black trouser he left his tie dangling on his neck. Bella walked out of the kitchen, wiping her forehead with the back of her palm she saw Maurice and walked to him.. “Your tie’s loosed” she said, taking the tie from his neck
He was about to say ‘he’d knot it when he gets to school’ but Bella’s hand working on the tie and fastening it on his neck stopped him and he watched her hands move.
“Ta-da” she said, giving the tie a smooth pat and letting it go. Maurice looked at it. It wasn’t that good but it wasn’t bad either for a starter..it was preferable.
“Maurice,” he faced her “can I go with you?” Bella asked and his eyes narrowed.
“Is it the nightmare again?” He asked “you’re scared of staying alone?” Bella shook her head.
“No, I’m scared you’ll not return if you leave,” she said “I’m scared you’ll leave me alone”
“Why would I do that?” He rhetorically asked “you’re part of my responsibility and I can’t leave you alone, at least not until you find someone you know that’ll you’ll like to live with” he said and Bella’s face lit up.
“Really?” She asked “you’ll stay with me?” Her eyes brighten.
He chuckled “I will” he assured and grabbed his backpack.
“Goodbye” he said and walked out, Bella heard the sound of his car driving out.
Bella smiled to herself and walked to her room to get her flops..
She walked back to the sitting room and a knock suddenly came on the door. “Huh,” she muttered “did Maurice return already? Or did he forget something” she walked to the door and pulled it open. She saw the unfamiliar face and her face twitched.. He was a slightly aged man, probably in his early fifties or late forties..
“Hello” the man greeted and Bella looked up and down at him.
“Hi, who are you and how may I help you?” She asked.
“I’m Pablo Martinez. Is Maurice in?” He asked. “He didn’t tell me he hired a maid, a pretty one at that”
“I’m his friend, who are you to him?” She saw as the man’s eyes ran down her for a while before his gaze rested on her face.. “I’m his father”
Bella grew numb.
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