Prologue

Hello. If you have triggers around control, domination, and captivity, please be forewarned.

I narrowed my eyes at the unnervingly controlled but sinister looking man before me. Edward Cullen. He smugly sat before me in a striped, black Giorgio Armani suit paired with a white shirt and gray tie. He almost looked like the perfect gentleman. His steely gray eyes held no emotion, as he, in a casual tone, told me the "rules" of my prison. Otherwise known as his estate.

"And what makes you think I intend to stay here? If you think for one second that I'll not fight you at every turn, you're seriously mistaken."

My confident tone sent jitters down my spine and allowed me to feel a little more in control over my fate. However, the gray storm that brewed within his eyes and the wicked grin that accompanied it quickly extinguished my short-lived burst of confidence.

After a short pause, he decided to continue his speech about "the rules."

"Routines and rules. Control over your life is no longer yours. The only thing you control is whether you will or will not follow my rules."

"Again, what makes you think I'll just follow your rules? You realize this is not only psychotic, but also unnecessary. I told you already! I won't bother you for money. I'll just disappear. There's no need to-"

"I always honor my agreements."

"But that agreement was made a long-"

"Time does not undo oaths." I opened my mouth to protest again, but the dark look in his eyes silenced me. "It's decided. You'll live here, and you'll follow my rules. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that broken rules deserve proper reprimands to adjust unacceptable behavior." He paused, raising a brow.

Disgusted by his words, I seethed, "You're insane. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that this is illegal. You talk about rules, but what about the rules of society? In no way is what you're doing right. They send people like you to prison for life!"

His empty expression didn't change, as I fearfully looked around the dark, empty cell, where I knew he intended to leave me. It would not be an easy escape. If escape was even possible.

There were no windows and no mobile furniture besides the two chairs we sat on, which he had brought in with him. There was a toilet with no lid, a twin-sized cot, and a small, clear glass enclosure that held a showerhead. But there was no shower curtain, and the water didn't work on its own. No, only when the light above the shower switched on was I allowed to use it. When the light shut off, so did the water.

Besides that, there was just one big metal door with a slot at the bottom that slid open twice a day for my meals. Everything in the cell carried an underlying theme of control.

I was sure I had been in the cell for at least a week. Mealtimes provided me with the only signs of life. I waited for those moments and held on to them like a lifeline to my sanity. The meals were small and simple. Fruit, toast, and water. Soup, bread, and water. Every day, it was the same.

The words above the small slot at the bottom of the big metal door read: "PLACE TRAY HERE," accompanied by an arrow that pointed to the area below the slot.

At one point, I thought that if I kept my dishes, it would force someone to come in and get them. I quickly realized I would not get the next meal if I did not place my tray back near the slot opening.

However, obeying this small rule still didn't grant me the thing I craved most. Human contact. Instead, the small slot would open, and a hand would reach in to grab the tray and replace it with a new meal.

Another trick I used was that I tried saying thank you, hoping someone would answer back with a, "You're welcome." But the only thing I was granted with was the sound of retreating footsteps.

On another day, I tried lingering near the slot, hoping to grab the hand of the person who delivered my meals. I decided I would not let go until they spoke to me. At this point, I was willing to do anything. Even hearing someone yell at me for my barbaric behavior would be a just reward for my efforts. However, this also turned into another failed attempt for human contact. No one showed up with my meals, as I sat anxiously by the slot.

Apparently, there were two stipulations for my meals to be delivered. One: To place the tray in the designated spot. Two: To remain at a safe distance away from the slot opening. Only when these two rules were obeyed did I receive both meals without fail on a regular basis.

The sound of creaking wood pulled me from my thoughts, as Edward leaned back in his chair, crossed his arms, and laid his right ankle across his left knee. "Legally? You belong to me."

I scoffed. "No. My father may not have been in his right mind, but in case you don't know, forced marriage is a crime in the United States. I don't belong to anyone. I didn't sign anything. Nor did I agree to be a Cullen."

He smiled. "Your consent was hardly needed. When agreements are made, they're honored."

I narrowed my eyes. "I. Am. Not. Your. Wife!"

"I'm aware of how you feel. But on paper, you are. Legally, you're my wife. However, I'll admit that I'm not too thrilled with this arrangement either."

"Then, let me go!" I leaned forward. "You have everything you need here, and it's no secret that you sleep with whomever you please. Admit it, you don't even want a wife. Least of all me."

He smirked, as he calmly contemplated my words. "Yes, I'll admit that I don't really care to have a wife. Least of all you," he said, as his eyes traveled across my face, pacing from my lips down to my exposed cleavage. I quickly leaned back, sickened by the idea of him coming anywhere near me. "But I'm also a man of my word."

"And so, this is your great plan to get rid of me? You pretend to be married, but in reality, you choose to keep me locked in a cell and away from society? To make me so miserable that I commit suicide or go insane?"

His grin widened. That look of amusement was getting old. "Whichever comes first. But you should know that every precaution will be taken and measures put in place to keep you from hurting yourself. Hence," he motioned with a wave of his arm to the nearly empty cell that surrounded us, "your wonderful accommodations. What kind of husband would I be if I willingly let you hurt yourself?"

"Why don't you just drop me off at an insane asylum right now?"

"I'm willing to foot the bill when it becomes necessary. There's a wonderful private establishment not too far from here."

"So, you do intend to keep me locked up in here?" I motioned to the room around me. "And what, rape me? Treat me like some caged animal?"

He smirked. "The first and third depends on you. And the second," he tipped his head to the side and in a carefree tone replied, "I really have no intention of doing."

Intention? That wasn't a no. It sounded more like a conditional answer. He studied me with interest, as I tried to come to terms with his vague answers. I shook my head.

"There must be something…anything…that'd be better than doing this," I motioned again to the cell around me in a shaky voice. There was no doubt in my mind that he had the power to keep me hidden away from society indefinitely. He was beyond wealthy and known for unquestionably getting his way in all sorts of business.

People rarely questioned his actions, and, vice versa, he rarely justified his actions. Most of what he did was simply accepted, and that realization scared the hell out of me. No matter how many threats I made or how confident I tried to appear, we both knew he still held the key to my freedom, and that no one would come looking for me while I was under his control.

He looked me over, as he pondered my words. "Through trial and error, you were able to understand the rules for obtaining your two meals a day. When you understood the rules, you adapted, and you accepted them. The result is that, now, you fully understand what's required of you if you wish to eat. It's through that same process that you'll learn what's required of you if you wish to have the possibility of leaving this cell as an option."

"And how, exactly, do you expect me to learn what's required when I'm trapped in a goddamn stupid cell all day by a psychopath?"

His eyes darkened, as the muscles in his jaw clenched. "I'm sure you'll find a way. For example, your tone and demeanor at this moment prove to me that you're not fit to be seen as my wife. And until you're able to convince me otherwise, I see no reason to take you out of this cell. As far as I'm concerned, I'm meeting my responsibilities as a husband. You have shelter, food, and clothing, all of which I pay for and provide. And as I said, I'm also willing to pay for my poor wife's mental health should it take a turn for the worse."

I didn't want to cry. Especially not in front of him. But the tears that slipped down my cheeks did not stem from sadness. Rather, they were the result of the anger burning deep inside me. It was an inconsolable anger that this bastard could manipulate and control my every move.

I looked down at my gray sweatpants. "You're a terrible person," I whispered, as I fumbled with the edge of my thin, pink camisole.

"You mean to say that you're not satisfied with your accommodations?" he grinned.

"No," I said through gritted teeth, as I looked back up at him with blurred eyes. "I meant what I said. You're a terrible and evil person."

He stood, folded up his chair, and looked up, nodding at one of the corners of the dimly lit stone room. Immediately, the door to the cell opened, and a tall, muscular, green-eyed man came in and took the chair from Edward's hand.

Edward looked at me with a spark of humor before he glanced down at his diamond and gold Rolex watch. "I think we're done here. Mrs. Cullen, if you please?" He held his hand out to me, as if to help me up out of the chair. I glaringly held his gaze and crossed my arms as if to say, "No way in hell am I taking your hand. Not now. Not in a million years."

"All missed opportunities," he sighed. "You always were disappointing." He retracted his hand and nodded again at the man next to him. The green-eyed man suddenly jerked the chair out from under me, causing me to fall backwards hard on my tailbone. Edward raised his head high and looked down at me, as if I were an unruly child he wanted little to nothing to do with.

Oh…he didn't know how unruly I could be. This was just the beginning. I picked myself up and stood with defiance, as I crossed my arms again. I was determined to meet this challenge. Perhaps I could not escape, but I would not allow him to treat me like an animal or sink into the temptation to behave like one.

He seemed to pick up on my determined disposition. I wanted him to know I was not backing down. Some sort of sinister amusement sparkled in his eyes, as he looked me up and down. With one look, he sized me up, and then he brushed off my attempts to appear strong.

"Remember…your behavior is the only thing that will reflect your willingness to accept and adapt to our union." I could feel the heat seeping up my neck and into my cheeks. "Trust me," his gaze became serious, "it's the only thing you can control. I expect you to remember that, as you contemplate your behavior from here on out."

"Go to hell."

"Such a blossoming flower is my lovely wife. I hope you know what happens to flowers in the dark," he said, as he opened the door. I wasn't sure why I rushed toward the door as it inched closed. I knew I couldn't hurt him or make it out past him. Perhaps it was just my internal need to get one last jab at him if I could. Who knew when he would be back?

The door slammed in my face. After a few beeps, the door's locking mechanisms set in place, sealing my fate. I balled my hands into fists and banged on the door. I kicked it in ferocious anger. "Help! Somebody, help me, please!" I screamed.

But the only repose I heard was the echoing of a light chuckle from the devil himself, as his footsteps receded into the silence.

As a writer, I understand that Edward seems like a real douchebag. Please keep in mind that I am a fan of Edward/Isabella romance as you proceed forward.