"I still can't believe Aiden Crook is your betrothed," Renee muttered in between swallowing the cereals in her mouth. 

That mistake again. 

"Sold to," I said, correcting her slip. 

She shrugged, dropping the white plastic spoon with her in the cereal bowl. "What matters is you'll get married to him."

I winced at the blunt reminder. I didn't know the reason he wished to get married to me, whereas he could get any woman he desired.

Heck, if I began working now, I don't know when I would accumulate that amount of money. Still, I believe there was no harm in trying.

The most aggravating thing was that he had fixed a wedding date, and I was sure my family weren't aware of it. 

That jerk and he wasn't even bluffing!

"Over my dead body. I'd rather die than see myself married to the pompous idiot."

"What do you intend to do about the debt? It's a hundred thousand dollars, baby." She drawled. Her green eyes stayed on mine as she cocked a brow. 

"Heck, he wouldn't mind if you marry him. I mean, wasn't that what the deal was about? Not to think of the debt?"

"That's not my problem because I don't intend to marry him. That is the reason I ran. Also, I have an alternative." I pointed out.

Renee shook her head, then propped it with her left hand. 

"The alternative better be good for your rejection to become a rich CEO's wife."

Even the name tag sounded absurd. 

Renee picked up the empty cereal plate and then walked into the kitchen, which was more like a narrow passageway. I dare not step in with her because of how tiny it was. Also, to avoid suffocation, because I never do too well in tiny places. 

The plate clattered as she placed it in the aluminium sink before switching on the faucet to rinse it.

"I applied for a nanny job I came across yesterday. The reply came in some minutes ago and they asked me to come over for an interview." I said.

"Nanny?" She snorted, and I pictured her twisting her lips down in disgust, which she did whenever irritated.

"Yes. I should be there in an hour, so I need to get ready." I rushed out.

"Why would you choose to be a nanny instead of a CEO's wife?" She implored, but I didn't answer.

Instead, I walked into my bedroom, locking the door. Since the CEO was Aiden himself and they gave me to him illegally, I would prefer any job than to be his wife. Except for working in nightclubs like Renee. 

I have no patience for men swatting at my backside and making lewd comments whenever I was near. I wouldn't even want my boss to lose a client because of me.

I visited the pub where she worked, and it was my first and last time. A middle-aged man with a potbelly had tugged me to him, then latched his fat lips on mine whilst reeking of beer. 

Despite our size difference, I had an advantage over him since he was drunk. I had broken his f*cking hand, which served him right, as he wouldn't touch anyone without their permission anymore.

Moreover, I caused a ruckus that day, and Renee left work early after apologizing profusely to her boss. Also, I received a lot of stink eyes from the ladies present, which I didn't even care about a bit.

Sighing, I stepped into the bathroom, and then came out ten minutes later.

I grabbed the grey turtle neck long-sleeved gown I had laid on the bed. Donning it, I applied subtle makeup, which consisted of brown powder, mascara and nude lip-gloss, so I wouldn't look overdressed.

Even with it, I often felt as though I was overdoing it. Yet, I couldn't leave the house with my ordinary face. 

Renee would literally kill me. Then sat me down on the chair and applied more than I wanted.

Just like how she did during our college days. The first time I attended a college party was the worst. I mean, it was a party which would happen at night and there was no harm in attending it with my bare face.

She sat me down and did full makeup on my face, making us arrive late. At first, I thought I would look out of place but felt comfortable afterwards when I saw other girls' far worse faces. You would think they were going to a wedding or carnival party. Also, I didn't mind since I got the attention of many boys.

After putting my hair in a messy bun, I picked up my brown shoulder-length bag and then strode out of the room.

I met Renee in the living room we share, watching a comedy skit.

"Good luck, my foolish friend," she joked, glancing up briefly from her laptop.

I stuck out my tongue at her before stepping out.


“I am late again," I mumbled, facepalming. 

I had left earlier, still; we hadn't even gotten to where- according to the cab driver- we were going.

Also, I noticed we have been passing by many trees, gravestones and only a few buildings. Then the fog, which hadn't surfaced when I was at home, chose to grace the sky.

I heard fog often appears on this side of the town, East Vale. However, I never took it seriously and brushed it aside like one of the many rumours I've heard. 

"Still far?" I asked for the umpteenth time, rubbing my sore butt. 

"Not far and not very near." He stated.

My eyes narrowed as I stared at him through the rearview mirror. His onyx eyes stared back unblinkingly, and I was starting to think everything he had in his mind was programmed since he kept repeating the same sentence over again.

"I pray we get there sooner," Slouching into the seat to make myself comfortable. My eyes grew heavy, and I began nodding off. 

I felt a tap on my shoulder and my eyes popped open.


I fixated my gaze on the magnificent two-storey building in front of me as I stared in awe.

I alighted, thanking the driver, and then he zoomed off without collecting the money I extended to him. 

My brows crinkled as I stared at it for a few seconds before dumping it into my bag.

Maybe they don't collect money here. I wonder if he had been this way to others or maybe only me. Still, he would need it to take care of his bills.

I might get to see him at the car park later to pay him before going home.

I nudged open the iron gate coated with black paint. It seemed as though they painted it yesterday. It looks shiny and still smelt of the paint they coated it in.

A beautiful fountain stood at the northward side of the house, the steady gurgling of the clear water harmonious as it resounded in the surrounding stillness.

Beside the grand building was a tranquil garden consisting of various flowers.

"Okay, you got this Lena." I inhaled deeply, then let it out slowly. I wiped my sweaty palms on my dress out of habit. 

I was nervous because this would be my last resort. Or else, I would have to migrate to another town which I don't wish to, for another job.

Though I don't have any experience as a nanny, I pray I get accepted because I was hardworking.

Again, I wouldn't kill the baby. 

That was a criterion, right? Keeping the baby alive.

My hand met air as I was about to touch the doorknob. A grey-haired woman with dark eyes stood at the entrance. 

Her skin wrinkled and smile lines grace her face. Still, she seemed friendly.

"I'm s-sorry. My name is Elena Lockser. I applied for the job of a nanny here."

"Oh, it's you. Welcome, my beautiful child." She chuckled as she ushered me in. Her voice was surprisingly strong, and it was as though we knew each other before now.

"Aiden needs someone to take care of our precious Gemma when I'm away, for I don't know when I'll be back." Her eyes twinkled, and I noticed the affection in them as she mentioned both their names.

That name again.

Why does my new employer have to bear the same name as him?

Somewhat irritating. However, I needn't think about the name when he began interviewing me.

"I hope I'm chosen." I let out a small laugh whilst sitting on one of the brown leather sofas in the living room.

Not only did the outside exude coldness but also the inside. Despite the number of chandeliers and lamps that decorated the room, it was still dark and cold.

Perhaps, the owner didn't like any light. But who doesn't?

I shivered, rubbing my palms together. I narrowed my eyes at the fireplace a few feet in front of me. It was void of fire and stood there as if it were some kind of decoration.

Occasionally, my gaze travelled to the end of the room, where a long spiral staircase led up, hoping to see if my new employer would pop out.

"You will be accepted. Of all the girls that have arrived here, I love your aura the best." She affirmed.


The woman whom I don't know her name fixed her gaze on me and she didn't glance away, even when I caught her staring. I shivered as I felt her staring right into me.

She seems weird but a better weird than the girls at Aiden Inc. It was as if my mind and hers were in one accord as we continued staring.

An angelic voice broke the silence, and I shifted uncomfortably as I removed my gaze from hers.

"Aha, Gemma is awake. You might want to check on her." A wrinkle formed at the side of her face as she chuckled.

"Me?" My brows furrowed as I gazed at her.

"Of course!" She beamed, and I noticed she had a missing premolar on her right upper jaw.

No interview.

Maybe knowing how to handle the baby was the interview. I stared back at the woman to see if she was joking, but she wasn't. Instead, she encouraged me with a kind smile on her face.

I moved towards the sound of the cooing voice. I passed by several rooms, but no sign of a baby. 

Was I being pranked?

Perhaps there was no baby.

It couldn't be as the voice sounded real, and it was getting somewhat closer to me. 

I wonder where he kept his baby; I mulled.

Then the voice came again, and I realized it was sounding from below. I noticed stairs leading down, and I stepped towards them.

Not only was his house far into the woods, but he also hid his baby in the cellar.

Was the baby like Hephaestus for him to have dumped her in the farthest place, void of air?

Even if she was that hideous, I would still babysit her because I needed the work. Also, I couldn't create any being. Who was I to say someone else's creature was hideous?

As I got to the last step, I nudged open the door to the basement and found a room decorated with all kinds of toys. 

Purple and pink wallpaper with stars and moon drawings adorned the wall. The flooring had the same design as the wall, and I walked toward the pink crib.

My heart melted when I saw her. 

I wasn't expecting a baby as beautiful as this. Her grey eyes stayed on mine for a few seconds before a smile brightened up her cherub face.

"Oh, ain't you so gorgeous?" I cooed, in awe at the lovely dimples that appeared on her cheeks.

She must look like her mother because her father couldn't be as beautiful as this. Perhaps he was the hideous one and had hidden her so her angelic face wouldn't get contaminated with his.

"For the record, I'm not hideous." A deep voice murmured.

My cheeks reddened as I had said my thoughts aloud. I swirled to the owner of the voice, then swirled back to face the baby.

No, please!

Someone should shoot me or pinch me!

Why couldn't he get a grip that I wasn't interested instead of embarrassing himself?

"Why are you stalking me? I'm not interested in you, not now and never..." He held out a palm, cutting me off.

"I said nothing when you ranted in my office because we just met, but I will not condone any more insult to my person. Not even in my house." He cautioned. 

Why was everything in this freaking town his?

The baby giggled whilst bouncing in her crib.

At least someone was happy to see him and I could see most of his features in her, save for the eye colour.

"Whatever, I'm just leaving." I scowled.

His big hand gripped mine, halting me. “Or maybe not.”

The air sizzled, and I felt a tiny spark at his touch. He tugged me to him and my hand splayed on his chest. A treacherous moan escaped from my parted lips and my breasts tingled, then grew taut at the contact with his athletic physique.

All logical reasoning flew out of my head as his lips latched onto mine in a frenzied kiss. My toes curled and uncurled as I hoisted myself up, wanting to taste more of him. Several alarms alerted my brain to how wrong it was, yet I didn't want him to stop whatever his lips were doing to me. 

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