My father clenches his teeth, pulling my arm. His nails dig into my skin, leaving thin white marks. His mouth is pressed in a tight line. I feel his eyes scanning me, looking for any signs shame. He will find none. I do not cast my eyes down. My posture never wavers.
"Is it true?" he demands, "Tell me now, you whore." All signs of kindness have left his eyes. This is the man I know, not the charming person he presents himself as.
"No. It's not. He wanted me to, but I didn't," I tell truthfully.
"Have I ever told you how beautiful you are," Nathaniel says, coiling my hair with his fingers. I step away from him. I'm not ready. Not now. His muscles tighten. No is not a word he likes to hear. Silence fills the dark room. His eyes soften, and he kisses me gently. "It's all right. Whenever you're ready."
It's hard to believe the man I once loved has betrayed me. Hatred is all I feel. Pure unadulterated hatred. Every ounce of what was has dissipated
"Well, it doesn't matter now. The suitors know you had an affair. You are damaged goods in their eyes. No one will want you," his face softens, "How could you be so Naive?" He breathes slowly, releasing the tension in his body.
He searches my face for a response. Silence fills the room. I can't breathe.
"I didn't want to do this." Do what? What is he talking about?
My eyes widen as his words register in my mind. I clutch my stomach and run to the sink, dry heaving.
"No, don't do this. Father," I wish it to come out like a shout, strong and defiant, but it seems to have done the opposite. His fingers clutch my waist, nails digging into my side.
"Have a nice sleep, my darling Katelyn. The morning might not be as merciful," Father hisses. With that, he exits the room, leaving me alone with my traitorous thoughts.
I try the window. Locked and barred. The door is jammed too.
I take the pins out of my hair, and wiggle it in the keyhole, I listen for clicks, but even as the door unlocks, I realize there's something blocking it from the outside.
My body collapses on the floor. I will tears to come, some proof that I'm real.
The deep voices of several men wake me up from my slumber. I jolt suddenly, reality hitting me like a wave.
"You are now in custody of The Market," a dark man in the middle voices. He slicks back his hair with smooth uncalloused hands. Dread fills me to the top. I will not go easily. I will not be sold as a slave. I curse Nathaniel, silently, and rise. Instead of walking toward them, I run in the opposite direction, leading myself onto the high balcony. If I try to escape I will surely break something, if I don't I will get captured. I rather die.
For a second, I feel free, like nothing can stop me. Not the men, not Father, not Nathaniel. Then I hit the ground. Pain surrounds my being, enveloping me fully in a blanket of hurt. I don't even hear the shouts. As the world fades, the same man who was in my room stands over me.
"I guess we are doing this the hard way. Nighty-night, Bitch."