OWNING THE BEAST
Alive. I don’t think I’ve felt this alive since Father’s death two weeks ago. And although I’m afraid of what’s to come, I welcome the feeling. It’s better than the numbness I’ve been living in. Anxiety was a constant knot in my stomach these days. The fear of not knowing what was to come was the hardest to deal with. My heart was pounding so hard against my ribcage that I was almost sure the driver could hear it as well.
Tearing my eyes away from the lush green hills, I turned my focus back on Logan. When he’d picked me up from the agency in Seattle, he said that his boss, Mr. Stone, had sent him to retrieve me. Now, I have not met my future husband yet, but I felt a pang of disappointment when it had sunken in that he did not turn up to meet me himself.
I had dressed my part to the best of my abilities, a yellow sundress with white polka dots that came to a stop slightly above my knees along with a pair of simple white flats. A lady at the agency had even helped curl my usually straight, long raven hair, tying it up in a white bow to match my dress. I started to second-guess my choice of wardrobe after noticing the look the driver had given me, mumbling something about how “you don’t look like what the boss usually orders”.
One thing I could assume, just from my driver, was that my husband-to-be must be a very, very rich man. Coupled with the fact that this was one of the nicest cars I’d ever seen in my life and overhearing John at the agency say that I’d fetched a higher price due to the fact that my virginity was still intact. I wasn’t trying to hold on to it, really, I just never got a chance to have a life outside of my family. Growing up in Mexico City, Father and Mother rarely let me out of their sight, which was understandable from some of the horror stories I’ve heard over the years. My father did his best to keep me hidden away, even going to the extent of having Mother homeschool me.
After Mother was killed by Mexican drug cartel when I was fifteen, I took on her role in the family. Father loved her dearly and was utterly destroyed by her passing. He merely existed, and I often felt that he’d only kept on living to keep me safe. That was up till two weeks ago where he had suffered a massive heart attack, causing my perfect little world to come crashing down.
I am completely alone in this world. That loneliness was probably the main reason why I was in this car to begin with.
I sat at Father’s bedside for three whole days before he’d finally slipped away. I had absolutely no idea what I would do without him by my side. I’d never been so terrified in my life. The thought of returning home without him, without his protection, it just wasn’t going to happen. I could die, or worse. While Father might not have let me out of the house much, I could still hear the screams, the gunfire and the police sirens from the outside every day. Father said they left us alone because he’d paid his dues, whatever that meant. I have no money, my Spanish isn’t fluent, and my bright blue eyes give away the fact that I’m not one hundred percent Mexican.
When I had shared my fears with Father’s nurse from the hospital, she gave me a man’s card. A man who could get me out of Mexico and give me a whole new life in America. Mother was American and often spoke wonderful things about her country. I grew up speaking English, with Spanish as my second language. Mother always said that we would move to America together one day, but that dream died the same day she did.
And that was how I found myself faced with this choice. I kept asking myself if this made me a whore. While I might not be selling myself to a different man each day, I was still selling myself to one. I wonder what he’s like. My parents’ marriage was a beautiful one. They loved each other deeply and I longed to have that with someone someday; to make a home and fill it with children, to love without living in fear each day. While we might not have had much, Father and I had love, and now, I have no one. I should be thankful I had even made it out alive. I am never going back.
Father said that I was the most stubborn person he has ever met. I drove him crazy with my constant chatter and my need to always have things done in a certain way, but he always said that I would make a wonderful wife one day. I made it my goal to make Father smile after Mother passed away. Nothing made me happier than when I could get a laugh from him. I’m not sure if I ever truly did though. Maybe if Mother was still alive, he might have fought harder to stay, to live.
I was determined not to lose the battle this time. I will be a wonderful wife—that was the plan, anyway. I talked to some of the girls at the agency before I was picked up. I asked a lot of questions about what I should do and what American husbands would like from their wives. Most of the things they told me were s£x related but I took as many notes as I could. After all, most of the women there were call girls. If anyone knew how to make a man happy, it would be them. The agency not only did mail-order brides, they also housed women who men could rent by the hour. Some of the women tried to talk me into staying, saying that I would be freer there than being trapped in a loveless marriage. I had my U.S. citizenship because of my mother, but I also wanted protection. And love. They laughed at the idea of a happy-ever-after, claiming I was naïve, and that if a man had to get a mail-order bride then there must definitely be something wrong with him.
I figured that maybe he was just lonely. But what if he’s a cruel man? my mind kept asking me. Logan, the driver, seemed nice enough. We might have only spoken a few words to each other but he puts me at ease. Would such a nice man take me to someone who would potentially cause me harm? Maybe I really am naïve…
Drawing my eyes up to the rear view mirror, my gaze met Logan’s. Embarrassed at being caught staring, I went back to looking out the window. The sun had almost fully set by now and instead of vast green fields, there are now hundreds and hundreds of trees blocking everything else out.
“We’re almost there, sugar,” Logan said in a slow drawl, pulling my eyes back to him once again. “You sure you wanna do this? You look like you’re about to bolt from this car. You must be new. I’ve never seen you before.”
Returning his stare, I was unsure of what he meant. Has my future husband been married through the agency before?
“Has Mr. Stone been married before?” I asked, curiosity getting the best of me.
Logan released a bark of laughter along with a forceful no.
I guess that means he’s been using the call girls then. I’m not sure which was more unsettling, the thought of my husband using call girls or that his driver thinks the idea of him getting married was laughable. These thoughts weren’t doing much to help settle the pounding of my heart.
“Here we are. Welcome to Creston Falls.”
Logan slowly pulled the car up to a big black gate that looked to be about fifteen feet tall. Rolling down the window, he punched in a code and the gate opened with a creak. As we pulled up the long, rocky drive, I took in the majestic sight. The mansion resembled a castle out in the middle of nowhere. If this were to be my home, I have no idea how I am ever going to keep this place clean.
Stepping out of the car, I tried to settle my thoughts. Out of the corner of my eyes, something moving by one of the windows caught my attention. Stepping forward to get a better look, I saw a shadow of a man backing away from the window.
Turning to Logan, I asked, “Was that Mr. Stone?”
“He’s the only one home right now, so I reckon it was. Go on in, I’m sure he’s waiting for you. I’ll park the car in the garage over there,” he said, pointing to a large building to the left of the mansion. “When you’re done, have Mr. Stone call me or walk on over and I’ll take you back to the city if you like.”
Before I could ask him what he meant, Logan hopped back in the car and drove off, leaving me to my fate. Taking a deep breath, I took the final ten steps to the door and slowly opened it.
I hate the wait more than anything else. The anticipation of having someone unfamiliar see my face for the first time. I used whores because even though I shouldn’t care about what women thought of me, I still do. I paced back and forth in my bedroom, wearing grooves into the carpet, constantly looking out the windows to see if Logan is back with the latest one yet. It’d been months since I last called the agency, and I was on the edge. I hated this part of myself. This need for release I can’t seem to take care of myself. Sure, I could get by with jerking off for a few months, but it left me feeling so goddamn empty. fvcking a whore who probably didn’t give a shit about me was much better than fvcking my own sorry, scarred-up hand.
Looking down at my hands and seeing those mangled scars did nothing to ease my anxiety. I knew the looks this new whore would give me. Pity, disgust, revulsion… At least until she remembers what I am paying to have her here for the next few hours. Most of the time, they just focused on the dollar signs. I’m not an idiot. I know what I look like. A beast.
I paced the room once again to check the windows. It’s raining and slowly getting dark outside.
Running my hand down the right side of my face, I felt the familiar jagged lines. Pushing the onslaught of images away, I tried to block the memories from my mind and focus on the present. I had enough to worry about without adding onto my stress.
Light flooded the room and I looked down just in time to see Logan pulling up in front of the manor. I watched the car carefully to see if it’s the same blonde from the previous time. At least a familiar girl wouldn’t spend half the time I paid for pretending not to stare at me. Moving the curtain to the side, I tried to get a better look. The car door opened and a dark-haired woman stepped out.
My chest tightened and I was momentarily stunned by her beauty. As her head lifted up to look towards where I stood, I was shaken out of my daze. Stepping away from the window, I clutched a hand to my chest.
She was the most beautiful and innocent thing I had ever seen in my life. I barely caught a glimpse of her, and yet I felt breathless, overwhelmed. Beauty. So pure and perfect.
Who sent that woman to me? Was this some kind of a sick joke? The agency must be pissed at me for going so many months without placing an order. This had to be their idea of a good fvcking laugh. Send the scarred-up freak a new girl. Well, fvck them. I’ll send this girl back ruined. I’ll show them the monster they’re laughing at.
Bursting through the double doors of my bedroom suite, I stomped down the hall and made my way down the stairs with a mighty roar. I was breathing hard, angry as hell by the time I had gotten to the main entrance. Jerking the front door open, so hard that it slammed against the wall, the dark-haired angel standing outside my front door let out a small sound of shock. I guess nobody let her in on the scarred monster joke.