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“It’s pay back time, now that your sister needs to study abroad, you have to help the family. Marry Mr. Morrison.” The words were nonchalantly spoken while I was being thrown into a room. What doubles the pain is to hear these come from my own father, the person whom I never imagined slapping me with the truth that I am as valuable as an economic insurance. I am an investment daughter, my parents groomed me to be their insurance in the future. I am their economic plan B if things go wrong… Should I obey or run? This is my life and I have the control over it!
Chapter 1: Obey your Parents
“After everything that we have done for you, it is time to pay your parents back. Marry Mr. Morrison at all costs. It is your only contribution to this family after all!” My father’s words resonated; I was being pushed inside a room in an unknown unit.
“Dad, I am your daughter. I can help you in another way, this is not how to do it. Please spare me! Be my dad even only for this time.”
I begged as my tears began to fall. I am shivering in fear, I couldn't imagine what will happen in the next few minutes after they leave me in this room. I am too young for this. I am too young to pay back for the sacrifices of my parents to me. After all, I have been a big help to them since I was 10. I did house chores. After I turned 16, I had several jobs-part times just to help them, but how could they do this to me suddenly? How bad is their financial crisis that they had to push me into this?
So, these kinds of stereotypical things still happen in my generation? All I thought about was, liberation is the trend now. One must decide their future, especially who they get married to. This is what I know but look at what is happening to me right now?!
“You have to stop your daughter from crying. The big boss won't like this, we cannot leave her in that state. She has to be presentable. You know that from the beginning.” The big man, who was in black suits who pushed me inside the room, spoke to my father. He was beginning to get irritated.
“I am sorry, boss. Can you leave us two alone?” My father was very quick to respond to the big man.
After we were left alone, I looked at my father, begging. “Dad, please help me out. I promise I will do everything that you want me to do, just don't let me do this.”
“You have to do this Madeline, there is no turning back because I have already accepted the payment. You know that this is the only way to send your sister abroad. Your mother will kick me out of her life if I do not do this.” I could tell that there was a little guilt in my father's eyes, so I went on pleading.
“Dad, I promise I will work as hard as I can, even if it means I have to drop out from school. Just not this. You don't know who the man is. Even I myself couldn't imagine being in this room alone with him. You know what will happen after you leave me alone…” I was already sobbing, holding my father’s hands, but he turned his gaze outside the window and smiled bitterly.
“It will just be a night. If the big boss won't like you, then he will let you go, but if he likes you, he will marry you. Don't you like that? You will live comfortably in his wealth once he chooses you!” Dad was so convincing he was trying hard to persuade me. But how could I be persuaded in this kind of offer?
I could sense that there is no hope already. He's really into this. He even accepted my payment. I don't know what differs me from my little sister so much that they have to give her the best, even if they couldn't. I don't know why I had to be the sacrificial lamb for her luxury, when I am also a child of our parents.
I am not demanding for a luxurious life. I am so fine with what we have.
“Dad, I grew up thinking that a father protects his child. I grew up believing that a father is the one who sacrifices for his children’s comfort. Little did I know that all of those were just fairy tales. What does it have to lose when mum kicks you out of her life? Am I and my sister not enough for you to go on with your life if ever that happens?” I tried to instill guilt in him. But I was surprised by what happened next…
‘Pak! Pak! Pak!’ Those were three slaps on the sides of my face. I almost fell on the floor because of its impact. My heart aches as well as my face does.
“Stop crying and do what you are ordered to. If you don't, I will tell the big boss to do anything that he wants to, even if it has to be your death!”
I felt numb. I couldn't say a word anymore. I just held my face, which began to feel sore as I watched my father storm out the room.
“Stop crying. The boss doesn't like to watch you that way. Now take your rest and eat everything that you wanted to eat. He is eager to meet you at 10 in the evening, you have all your time to relax.”
What I didn't know was that I was being watched on a CCTV monitor somewhere. I assumed that I was being watched because how good the big man tells me that the boss doesn't like what he was watching.
I was frightened even more realizing that every move that I do is being watched. I slowly turned around to check if there was any sign of a CCTV camera in the room, but I failed. I am not a fool. I know that there are different types and designs for CCTV cameras, one of which might be as tiny as a needle.
After the man left, I walked to the wall dividing the bedroom and the bathroom. I slowly squatted and hugged myself tight as my tears began to fall again. Waking up from a nightmare is one of my dreams at the moment. I am hoping that I am only dreaming, but it is so impossible because I felt the three strong slaps from my father.
I am in this position for almost 10 minutes, but I do not want to move. I hope that I can sleep this way. Hugging myself is my only way to protect my body from any harm. What is being paid mean for if not to be used by a man?
My watch says it is already two in the afternoon, but I haven't eaten anything yet. The man told me to dial 01 in the bedside telephone if I need anything, but I don't feel like doing it.
I didn't know if the walls understood me because somebody knocked with a tray of food after I opened it. I wasn't scared to open the door because I was told that 10:00 PM is the meeting time with a big boss. I just stared at the middle-aged woman who entered the room and slowly put the tray on the table then smiled at me gently.
“You have to eat Miss.” After that, she rushed out the room as if she was being monitored.
I am beginning to wonder who the big boss is. Why does he seem to be feared so much? If he is a rich man, why does he have to force someone to lay in bed? I mean, of course, he watched me already disagreeing with this, so why couldn't he just let me go and retrieve the payment from my father?
While I am thinking my belly made a sound which implies that it couldn't take its hunger anymore. I slowly reached for the sandwich and began to take a bite. Whatever is in store for me in this building, I must keep my body strong if I want to escape from here. There is no one to help me but myself.
I have the charm, I know that. I am planning to use it once I meet the big boss. I will beg that I will do anything for him just so that he will spare me from this kind of thing.
I can even be his maid if needed to, that way I will be able to repay my father's debt to him.
After I finished eating and making a good plan, I walked to the bed and laid down as I pulled the comforter and covered my body tightly, hoping that it would be enough to protect me from untoward incidents. I have to sleep because I need to be strong to have my proper mental ability to think.
I shouldn't let my guard down, because even if I cry gallons of tears here, it wouldn't help me out and I know that.
“Wake up and get prepared. You have to take a shower and be groomed!”
Chapter 2 Don’t run away!
The familiar voice has woken me, and it aroused the fear that I feel.
I was too quick to open my eyes and look at him, who was standing by the door. I got up and fixed myself at the edge of the bed and did not say a thing. After a few more minutes, two women came in.
“Fix her and make sure that she looks like what the boss likes.” It was his only words before he turned around and left the room, leaving the two women beside me.
The other one smiled politely while she approached me while the other one was busy taking out a thing in her bag.
“Miss, I am sorry, but you have to take your shower so we could prepare you. By the way, we have already ordered a meal for you, so after you take your shower, you can eat while we prepare your attire for tonight.” The woman said as she tapped my shoulder. I felt like she was sorry for me, or maybe I was just too sentimental at the moment.
I just noted and gestured to walk in the washroom when she spoke again. “I am Na
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