Here's the next chapter. Haffun reading~

Please Enjoy.


RANCOR:

That Feeling of Hate When You Strangely Find Peace In the Hell You're Trapped In


When I awoke, Jeremy is gone. The only trace of him is the compressed mark in the sheets where he had slept. I could only imagine the smirk on his face when he woke up with my face pressed in his chest.

I nibbled on the breakfast that had been delivered to my room by the attendant (eggs, bacon, toast, and hash browns) before I started a bath and got ready for the day.

What had really happened last night? What was Jeremy's ulterior motive to his loneliness?

I roamed through my closet after my bath, the strange soap still crackling on my skin. The immediately recognized Marie's handiwork in the nimble threading of each article of clothing for her presence was there in each fabric. I selected another sweater that was heaven to the touch and a pair of shorts and socks.

Just after I had brushed my teeth and I was running a comb through my hair, Bay entered my room, a smirk toying with her lips.

"Hiya, sister wife," Bay wiggled her wedding band in my face, her braided hair flopping against her shoulders. "We've only been married one night, and you've been bust, I see. What, you're not going to leave any Governor Jeremy for me? What happened to taking a stand?"

"What?" My eyebrows creased in confusion.

"You got knocked up! I saw him leave your room!"

I felt my cheeks grow hot. "How-I-What-Bay!" I spluttered. "We didn't! I promise! He came to my room last night for comfort because he was lonely, but I don't doubt the fact that consummating was on his mind!" I tugged anxiously on my hair, winding chunks around my fingers, totally and completely mortified.

"I'm just teasing you, Charlie," Bay grinned, obviously amused by my perplexed state. "As my mother would say, 'I'm just pullin' your leg,'"

I took a deep breath, throwing myself onto my bed and smothered my shrieks into the pillows. Bay patted my back, waiting for me to calm down.

"C'mon," she finally took my arm and tugged me to my feet. "Let's go do something,"

As the next few weeks passed, Bay and I grew closer as there was no sign of Jeremy. Sometimes we were called down to dinner, but we mostly had to sit upstairs and eat, listening to Hannah complain about the food or that Jeremy hadn't visited her yet. Our days consisted of virtual sports in the game room, becoming bemused and befuddled with all the different buttons and controllers that were meant to replace actual life. The only side of the game room Bay and I really focused on was the side that supplied practical board games and puzzles from the past. We didn't want to get lost in the world of endless illusions.

Bay and I would lounge around the sitting room or tap out notes on the piano, wishing we knew how to play. The little stuff I did know I tried to teach to Aubrey when she begged me to but she did not like the music from what she called the "ancient olden days". Her ignorance would never appreciate true art from masters called Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach.

When we weren't in the sitting room it was the library or the glass patio, sticking our noses in books and sharing the information we could find. Bay enjoyed picture books with stunning paintings from the past and other parts of history. I loved fiction and could usually be found with my face shoved in books. My favorite series was from the earlier twentieth century about an ordinary boy who discovers he's a wizard and attends a magical school where he learns spells and makes friends while preparing to face an evil wizard from a prophecy.

Our absolute favorite thing to do was roll around in what we called the "White Room" due to the absolute whiteness of the windowless walls and floors. By sticking different projections into a machine in the wall, we would watch the holograms come to life and wish we could actually be transported to the different projections. Bay and I would whisper secrets and tell stories about our times before we became trapped in this shared, luxurious hell. The projections would have to do till we actually earned Jeremy's favor and the freedom to roam the outdoors. Multiple times we were joined by Aubrey on her quest to find something fun to do. Sometimes Hannah would peek her head in and shake her head as if we were insane and below her. No irritated look could hide the longing in her eyes. Bay eventually decided she could join us, no matter how annoying she was, and tugged her in to lie beside me.

Aubrey didn't understand the magnitude behind the tales Bay and I would tell. She would tell us about her orphanage where she grew up and how horrible things were and how blessed she was to be here.

"They would beat us if we did things wrong," Aubrey told us once, revealing a scar on her neck and shoulder. "I got that from a knife during dinner. I wasn't sitting up straight enough. That's why I'm glad to be here with a man who loves me and chose me out of all the girls. But he only talks about boring stuff about flowers and paintings when I'm with him, and that's been rare, nowadays."

To her dismay, Jeremy had not even tried to kiss her once.


"When do you think Jeremy will come to us?"

I didn't look away from the blue sky that was projected onto the ceiling. Clouds floated by, meandering away on the stale air that rushed through the room as it pretended to be wind. I wished to transform into one of the fluffy clouds, to peruse the skies and float away from existence. To find a land that was still trapped in the twenty-first century across the sprawling oceans.

"He's already come to Hannah and Aubrey," Bay answered quietly. "But I don't want to know how that went,"

I finally let my eyes glance at Bay. She pursed her lips, her gray eyes thoughtful. My gaze flickered back up to the fake skies.

"He came to me," Bay finally muttered a few minutes later.

"But it wasn't-?"

"No, it wasn't for children," she quickly finished. "He just sat on my bed and we talked,"

I sat up. "What did you discuss?"

Bay shrugged, sitting up also. Her hands moved to a lock of my wavy hair. "We just had a conversation. He says he wants to take me outside and he said he was sorry that he's been so busy. We had lunch together and he told me this really funny joke about a bartender…"

She took the small rubber band that was holding up a part of her hair and twisted it into mine. Bay finished the braid so it laid on the side of my face. She then plucked a bobby pin out of her hair and slid it into mine so the braid ran across the side of my head.

"There," Bay smiled. "That looks good,"

My thoughts were already elsewhere than hair. Bay already had accepted her fate here. Should I? Or should I continue to fight, win the favor, and run?

"Lady Charlotte?" Marie poked her head into the room. "Headmaster Kiri wants to see you down in the gardens,"

"Can Bay come?" that was my immediate response.

"Lady Hannah has already been invited. Maybe next time,"

"Good luck!" Bay laughed at some private joke before I was towed out of the room and back into mine. Marie handed me a white strapless bra and pointed to the bathroom, handed me a dress and a pair of shoes, and told me to get in it. I obliged, doing as I was instructed.

The dress was a dusty light rose color, almost like a soft pale pink. It was held on by two thick straps and had a scoop collar. It clenched on my middle chest under my breasts and then flowed out, the bottom decorated with the same color lace. The intricate design contained lace roses. Under the lace was the under layer, so the lace was just a top covering of the bottom. It fell an inch or two above my knees. I silently thanked Marie that I wasn't in another sleazy dress like the symbolic one that I wore after my wedding. The shoes were white flats with normal soles, the rest made out of white lace.

"Do I really need to get this dressed up for Kiri?" I wondered aloud.

"Her name is Housemaster Kiri, Lady Charlotte," Marie corrected, "And yes, you should make a good impression. You look very elegant."

My makeup consisted of mascara and lip gloss. My nail polish was removed.

"What about Hugh?"

Marie told me to blot.

Shortly after I had finished, Hannah came bursting into the room in a breezy turquoise dress with capped sleeves and black flats, her eyes blazing.

Hannah always ignored the one sister wife rule that was always supposed to be upheld-you must be granted the permission of entering your fellow sister wives' room. To my great irritation, Hannah's eyes found mine, and the words that came out of her mouth were not the question I wished she would ask.

"You're coming too?" Her cherry red lips demanded.

I nodded, my eyes lingering on Marie. She dipped her head a fraction of an inch and then took my hand. She held her other out to Hannah but the seventeen year old didn't spare her a second glance.

"Housemaster Kiri is waiting," Marie broke the awkward silence as she led us to the elevator.

We were taken to the sprawling garden, the bright flowers popping like neon colors. Kiri stood at the entrance and she beamed when Marie dropped us off.

"Thank you, Marie. You're my favorite domestic, you know,"

"It's an honor, Housemaster," Marie bowed slightly and left to meet with the outside attendants. As soon as the little blonde was gone, Kiri smiled and said, "Hello, girls,"

"Hello, Housemaster Kiri!" Hannah greeted enthusiastically. I remained silent, shooting our Housemaster small smile as my own greeting.

"Oh, dears, please call me Kiri," Kiri insisted. "Shall we?"

As we strolled through the garden, Hannah twittered away, the center of attention as always. She and Kiri chatted, but Hannah did most of the talking. I paid no attention, my fingers running across the silky petals, inhaling the sweet fragrances of the blooming flowers.

We stopped in the greenhouse and Kiri dismissed Hannah. Hannah tried to object but Kiri told her that Jeremy would be looking for her and Hannah gladly skipped away. I was alone in the muggy, humid greenhouse with the female housemaster.

"Hannah is a very lovely girl, don't get me wrong," Kiri started, pausing the pick up a watering can to soak some type of white flowers, "but she tends to overshadow her sister wives,"

I didn't look up, my gaze focused on the bright purple blossoms to my right.

"And when a blossoming flower is planted in too much shade, it shrivels. Do you understand what I'm saying, Charlie?"

I tried not to be surprised by the use of my nickname.

"I'm the flower and Hannah's the shade," I responded.

Kiri brightened. "So lovely and intelligent! It would be such a shame to see you get too shaded by Hannah's longwinded motor mouth. Now, let's not continue to badmouth precious Hannah."

We walked in silence for a few moments, my eyes never leaving the bright array of plants.

"Do you like the flowers?" Kiri asked, noticing my focused gaze.

I nodded. I admired the healthy flowers, envious that even they knew how long they would live.

"I know you girls have been cooped up in the house lately. Jeremy has just been so busy with his father with profits and the wood…" Kiri trailed off. "I'll tell you what. How would you like to be able to tend to them with me in the mornings?"

"I'd like that very much," I smiled. It was hard not to adore the tiny woman with the caring face and eyes. I wondered if she was really evil to bring me here. Was it her intentions to suck me into that prison or was it Jeremy's?

Yet Jeremy did seem evil either. Maybe his kindness was an act. Or maybe it wasn't. The only one that seemed evil was Kiri's husband due to his coldness.

I quickly scolded myself. I had to hate it here. I had to. These people kidnapped me from my home, took away my freedom, and dragged me here to be a baby machine to help repopulate the dying world.

But they hadn't directly kidnapped me. My real anger should be at the men who did, the pigs who sold me out. And Bishop, the man I had trusted most, brought me to this hell.

I was wrong again and I hated myself for trying to find tranquility in this world. I had to keep despising and lying if I was ever going to get out.

But despising the woman I secretly liked was extremely hard.


-Prism Fire-