The drive had been long. I recognized the route.
We were now shuffling up the stairs at a rapid rate. I assumed we were rushing to some sort of event as we were in the Exquisé Emporium. Part of this emporium, was a large hall, a very rich, sparkly hall. A hall that they used for banquets and big occasions; which was part of the reason I had awoken from my trance and was now resisting every effort Korbin made to get me up the stairs.
"You haven’t told me what the occasion is! I’m not going up there!" I tried to release my hand, whilst not fall down the stairs, whilst not progress further up the stairs.
He only clasped my hand tighter. "Just be quiet and follow me."
"NO!" I began screeching. "What would possess you to dress me up like this and bring me here?! You haven’t even told me-"
He was getting quite breathless now, the stairs were long. "I thought women liked to be pampered and dressed up, especially when they weren’t paying."
"Normal women, probably yes."
"And you’re saying you’re not a normal woman?" He raised an eyebrow at me.
I pulled again and managed to get free. In my triumph, I pushed his last button. "Exactly. To be a normal woman you have to have a normal husband who loves you and doesn’t try to hurt you at every opportunity he gets. And see that’s where I fall down. I have been stuck with you." And then I swiveled around and began blasting down the steps. He groaned and started chasing me.
I think I deserved an award for not falling over -
"GOT YA!" He caught me just in time before I got my heel caught in my gold silk and nearly plummeted to my death.
We stood there for a moment, his arms around me as I was still slightly bent over... One of my hands on the banister, while the other was on his shoulder.
"You should have just let me fall." I grunted, straightening myself up and pushing him away. "Get off of me."
He shook his head, wrapping his arms around me against my will. "Listen to me; we don’t have to stay that long. I just want you to come in there with me, pose for the photos and smile. Act happy."
"Why should I?! Why do I have to go in there with you in the first place?"
He hesitated, swallowing and looking around the stairwell. His eyes took a while to focus and he swallowed again, looking back at me. "It’s a business banquet..."
My stomach dropped. He had taken me to those business get-togethers in the past and it had been full of pompous, arrogant, rich people.
"Our business is throwing a huge bash to celebrate recent figures, just in there." He signaled to the double doors at the top of the staircase. "I need to be there, both for the company and for my dad..."
"Why do I need to be there?" I asked, irritated.
"Because I don’t want to go in there alone..." His voice was quiet, and something inside my stomach lurched for him... His eyes became faded; his mouth wasn’t smirking, and instead was standing in an unhappy pout. "Please." He whispered.
I didn’t even respond but he took my silence as an answer ‘yes’, and we were flying up the stairs again. He had gotten hold of my hand, but when we reached the top, I yanked it away.
"Why do you do that?" He asked, innocently.
"I don’t want you to touch me."
He sighed. "You need to act happy. And smile."
I looked at him, horrified.
He held his arm out for me, as if he wanted me to hook mine through it. I turned my head the other day, crossed my eyebrow and folded my arms. He then pulled my arm out of my control, and slithered it through his, so that I was forced to stand closer to him.
"Smile." He murmured, looking straight ahead of us at the doors.
He walked towards them, pulling me along with him. He knocked on them and they were both opened for us... Revealing a marvelous sight. There were probably 100 people in the large hall... Drinking and chattering. I didn’t recognize any of them, to my relief. They were all dressed up. I looked at Korbin who was smiling and nodding at people who smiled at him. I suddenly realized he was wearing a suit... with a bow tie. I really was becoming quite oblivious to certain things...
Ladies complimented my dress; they looked exquisite themselves, so I really couldn’t understand what they were seeing in me. They eyed up Korbin, and I didn’t care. A part of my womb did but I didn’t care... Not now... Not ever... If Korbin were to run off with one of them, I would be glad. I felt like screaming: "TAKE HIM! PLEASE! PLEASE TAKE ‘IT’ AWAY!" But I instead chose to remain composed.
One young man with his partner walked up to us and we maintained eye contact for a long time while he kissed my hand and bowed his head to me. Korbin stared at me strangely after noticing this, but then stared back at the young man. I was then introduced as his wife, the young man’s face dropped. I couldn’t help but giggle. We spoke as a group for a short while, but then Korbin moved us away from them.
We approached the part of the hall where there appeared to be a photo shoot going on... This whole thing reminded me somewhat of a prom styled party. Couples were getting their photos taken and were pulling their best facial expressions for them.
Korbin lent his lips to my ear. "We’re next, remember, I want you to smile."
"I don’t care what you want." I hissed back.
"I don’t care that you don’t care. Just smile or I’ll-"
"Ah Mr. Farrington! You’re next!" The photographer squealed at us, and we were brought into the center of the photography set. "Stand close that’s it! Here’s for a sensible one!"
Korbin placed his arm around my back; I placed both my hands on my clutch bag. We smiled. Snap.
I began walking away but the photographer called me back. "One more, this time let’s do more of a romantic one!"
I gulped, Korbin placed his arms around me and I managed to just about place my hand on his elbow. His elbow? I almost shook my head at my awkwardness, but then remembered I needed to smile. So I did. Snap.
And then the photographer let us go. To my relief! We began circulating the room, my arm still within his.
"See? Not so bad was it?" He murmured gently. I ignored him, but was then distracted by the gold digger’s voice.
"Oh my God." The shock and deceit in her voice made a few people turn to see what had happened. Me and Korbin turned too, only to see her staring at me with a horrified expression on her face.
"Ah." His father walked out from the middle of another crowd and placed his arm around his wife’s lower back. Korbin licked his lips and squeezed me closer to him. I looked at each of them, panicked by the gold digger’s reaction to me.
"Evening, father." Korbin spoke calmly, managing a smile.
"Good evening, my son." His father spoke rather warmly, a little too warmly. I wasn’t aware that they had made up? His father disturbed my thoughts. "I see you brought Viola, you look wonderful dear."
I blinked at him, but then realized I needed to be polite. "Thank you."
"Ha." She sneered; her eyes mocked me.
There was some genuine hostility between me and her tonight as she eyed me up and down. I stared back at her with scared and timid eyes... What had I done to make her hate me so much? She clearly wasn’t happy to see me!
Joe suddenly appeared, adding another dimension to this already hostile situation. "Korbin." He spoke boldly, staring threateningly at him.
Korbin sighed at the sight of Joe.
Joe looked at both of us as if he was shocked to see us together.
"Joe." The gold digger pounced in. "Why don’t you take Viola to get a drink? I’m sure she’s thirsty."
I raised an eyebrow at the gold digger, what did she know of my hydration needs? Korbin began chuckling as Joe held out his hand for me.
I felt Korbin’s arm around me tighten and grow more comfortable there, as he spoke. "Viola is with me. If she needs a drink, I’ll get her one."
"Viola is probably bored with you Korbin." The gold digger smirked at him, trying to belittle him. That hurt me, for some reason that hurt me. Korbin chuckled again.
"Viola, come on." Joe insisted. I shook my head at him, raising my eyebrows in an attempt to tell him to back off and stay out of the situation.
Korbin clung to me. "Why doesn’t every stop worrying about Viola and start enjoying this marvelous-"
"Viola, go and get a drink!" The gold digger pounced once more. She tried to smile and hide her malicious tone but it didn’t fool me. Why was she so desperate for me to be out of the picture?
"Why?" Korbin spoke for me, questioning her motives. "Why do you want her to go and get a drink? Are you trying to... ‘Separate’ us?"
She bit her lip, so her husband spoke for her. "Korbin, that’s enough of that; Viola maybe you should just go with Joe..."
I frowned at all of them; I could feel Korbin stiffening as everyone waited for me to do something.
"If she’s thirsty, she’ll tell me. Now everyone back off." Korbin spoke rather harshly, but I think it was needed. I didn’t want to go with any of them... They were all acting strangely. "Father, why don’t you go and get your own wife a drink? Leave me and my wife alone."
"Korbin, stop making a fuss." His father ridiculed him.
"She’s not your wife. You broke up, remember? You have no right to call her that!" The gold digger spat.
I frowned once again, as Korbin’s temper rose. "I’m not making the fuss, she is!" He pointed to the gold digger who then moved closer to her husband and acted shy and innocent. "How do you know what right I have? How would you know if me and Voila are together or not?"
"Well then tell me, if I wouldn’t know, why don’t you tell me? Clarify it for all of us. What are you and Viola doing here together? Are you together? Or not?" The gold digger’s eyes flashed as she threw a harsh smirk at me.
I attempted to squeak but Korbin’s voice overpowered mine.
"Isn’t it obvious already? She’s with me tonight." He mocked her, chuckling slightly.
"You make her look like such a push over. You make her look like she can’t handle anything... So weak and pathetic... She has to crawl back to you, Korbin, of all people, to try to get-" The gold digger was interrupted by Korbin again.
"No..." He shook his head, violently. "You don’t call her weak and pathetic. She’s here tonight because she loves-"
"Stop it!" I practically barked at them. They were all so shocked that they turned to look at me, even Korbin was taken aback. "Stop it! Whatever you’re going to say, just don’t say it! I don’t want to hear any of this!" I untangled myself from Korbin’s grip and began walking away from the group, his hand caught mine and he stopped me from walking. I turned to look at him. "Why did you bring me here? I’m the reason everyone this is all happening, why did you have to bring me?"
"I won’t let you go, don’t let them stop us!" He begged; his sapphire’s searching my face for the confidence I did not have.
"When are you going to wake up and realize?!" Korbin cried, exasperated at his father’s attempt to calm him.
"Korbin keep your voice down!" His father hissed.
"Oh come on, you think they don’t know already? They all know how messed up this all really is!" Korbin turned his attention back to me. "Please, baby stay."
"Enough!" His father spat, his temple rising as his face became red with anger. "You’re an embarrassment Korbin. You’re embarrassing me right now! Let her go!"
Korbin smirked... A familiar smirk which I had seen all weekend; a smirk which I hated. I tried to pull away from him and he let me, clearly distracted by his vengeance for his father.
"If I embarrass you... Then I’m glad. It’s good that you’re embarrassed. So now you know how embarrassed I am to see you wear each of your new wives like an accessory. Especially this gold digger girl right here!" He again pointed at the gold digger now hiding behind her husband as if she had done nothing wrong.
"STOP IT!" His father yelled. I now became aware of the crowd we had attracted. People were definitely noticing something was wrong.
"Don’t worry. I’m going to stop." Korbin shook his head at his father with disgust. "If only you knew..."
"I’M SICK OF YOUR CRAP!" A fist came out of nowhere and throttled Korbin to the floor, it had come from Joe, who was now standing above Korbin’s body and was kicking him... He was kicking my husband... I blinked... I heard the screams of terror... I heard the yelps and please people made me to stop it.
Before I knew it... My arms had latched onto Joe’s back and I was pulling him off of my husband.
"Get off! What’s wrong with you Joe?!" I screamed at him over the uproar amongst the crowds. The gold digger was standing, watching me, smirking. Korbin’s father was standing with his head in his hands, clearly not interested in saving his son.
Joe eventually stopped kicking and walked away, he turned his back on us all. The screams partially stopped and there was a hot silence amongst everybody as they watched me help Korbin to his feet. I brushed his suit off and attempted to see where he was bleeding from... In multiple places... I only now realized I had tears welling in my eyes...
"You’re a joke Korbin. She’s only here with you because she will look bad if she doesn’t. Just say it right now; say it! Say that you don’t love her! Put her out of her misery." Joe had turned and was pointing a finger at Korbin.
Korbin attempted to launch for Joe, but I pulled him back. I pulled him in my arms and I held his face to mine and I whispered to him. I whispered anything that I thought would help.
"Please... Don’t... Can’t you see? You’re hurt! They want to hurt you more, don’t let them! Please just stop it. Ignore it." I pleaded with him, and momentarily his sapphires watched me, and adored me and relied on me... The way they used to... Momentarily my husband wasn’t listening to the abuse that other people gave him, he wasn’t giving in to anger... He was giving in to me... He was leaning on me for support and he was relying on me for strength... We could hear a distant threatening yelling, but it was all a blur. Everything around us was moving in slow motion... The only real thing in the world right now was his eyes and mine, touching and colliding...
"Please..." I whispered both of my hands either side of his face, wiping blood away where I could.
He attempted to whisper something, but his cut lip made it impossible for me to focus on what he was whispering... The distant yelling from Joe became clearer.
"YOU’RE A BASTARD! YOU JUST MESS EVERYTHING UP!"
Korbin shoved me off of him and leaped at Joe who only now shut his mouth and received his attack from Korbin.
I began crying openly. Crying... So many tears... Korbin was punching Joe repeatedly. I shook my head and looked away... I covered my eyes with my hands that were now covered in his blood... None of it was working... I cried louder as Korbin’s father managed to pull his son off of Joe. I cried harder watching him protect a complete stranger, rather than his own son. The outcries from our audience were overwhelming.
"Stop it, son! Stop it!" His father pulled back as Korbin shook his shoulders in an attempt to get his father’s hands off of him.
Korbin stared at his father with eyes that were faded, anxious, scared, hurt and full of anguish at the same time.
His father bellowed. "I’M TIRED OF YOUR CHILDISHNESS!"
Korbin shook his head as his father clutched at his own chest... It almost appeared that he was struggling to breathe... His wife leaped to support him as he collapsed. Korbin upon seeing this ran to his father’s side, but the gold digger pushed him away. He didn’t attempt to come near again, he listened to the gold digger threaten him.
"If your father dies... It will be ‘YOUR’ fault!" Her eyes flashed and she smirked. "If he dies, everyone will blame you!"
Korbin shook his head at her, and then looked back at his father who was clearly having some sort of fit. Tears poured down his face as he frantically rummaged in his pocket.
It occurred to me that he was searching for his mobile phone... Before I knew what I was doing, I had taken my mobile out of my clutch bag and given it to him. He took it from me and frantically began calling an ambulance.
Amongst the panic... Amongst the dread and the tears... I had at some point left the scene and found myself running down the long stairs and out of the building. After I had run out of the building I had continued running... Only a voice calling behind me made me stop.
I stopped running, and I watched Joe run towards me... He had followed me out of the building...
"Viola, I’m sorry!" He cried. "I’m so sorry..."
The ground came closer... And so did the vomit coming out of my mouth...
The last thing I saw was his questioning face as my head smacked the cold, dark pavement.
Please note - chapter 50 and chapter 52 will be Korbin’s POV. This has been done for reasons expressed in chapter 51, which will be Viola’s POV! If you don’t get it by the end of chapter 50, you’ll probably get it by the end of chapter 52. I know this is quite a complicated format of doing things, so if any of you - even you quiet readers out there who are too shy to comment - feel confused or unclear about what is going on, I will be happy to post a summary after all three chapters have been submitted. Please also note that a forthcoming chapter will contain a POV of the gold digger, but the exact chapter has not been confirmed yet. Shout-outs returning soon.