Beyond the Contract
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"She's wearing white. Why is she wearing white? I'm supposed to be the only one. Make her stop, baby!" a woman whines at my husband-to-be. "You have to change," Abraxas says, kissing her temple is a caring and soothing way. "Eh, why? Am I not the bride?" I ask in confusion. Little did I know, the wedding was only the beginning of a nightmare. Despite knowing it was a contracted marriage, I still entered into it full of hope that Abraxas Harlow would eventually fall in love with me. But after years of being treated as a slave and striving to perform as the Harlow family's 'good wife', I had enough. When I finally gathered the courage to ask for a divorce, Abraxas belittled me, and he thought my life would be a struggle without him. But he couldn't have been more wrong. I am Anastasia, the billionaire heiress of the Jackson family, the most influential and powerful family in Pearl City. I am not just any Stacy. Now that Abraxas knows my true identity, and he thinks he can win me back? Dream on!
CHAPTER 1 Am I Not The Bride?
Six Years Ago
Today Anastasia Jackson becomes Stacy Elizabeth Reid, the identity created for the occasion by my powerful father. Standing in my bedroom, I look myself over in the mirror. The dress hugged my curves perfectly, and I'm smiling. Today I'm going to marry the guy I've had a crush on for years and years. He doesn't know who I am, but I've had time to study him at every occasion - yes I sound like a stalker! But I'm not, I swear.
Abraxas Harlow is a business associate of my fathers, and my father is very protective. So, even with me and my brother being the heirs to take over, he has been going out of his way to keep us out of the limelight - with more or less success. I've been going to every business meeting and venture with him as his 'assistant', so I can learn the protocol for years. It's exciting. But it's also where I met Abraxas for the first time and fell in love with him.
"Are you really sure about this, sis?" Aron asks for the million times. He is as worried about me as the rest of my family, but I am sure. I need to do this for myself. To get out of that overprotected world my parents had placed me and him in, and get some life experience for myself.
"I'm sure. We created my alias for this occasion and I'm seeing it though." I told him. My father had a man make me a new identity. From the moment I left the car I would no longer be Anastasia Jackson, but Stacy Elizabeth Reid. They had made it bulletproof, so even with the extensive background check Connie Harlow had ordered on me, she didn't know anything but what we wanted her too - and that was nothing.
"Okay then! You have your things, and the special phone?" He asks while looking me in the eyes. I'm going to miss him too.
"Yes and yes. I'll call if and when I want out, but you know I've been crushing on Abraxas for years, brother." Aron snorts some sort of answer before hugging me tight.
The church is small, and only for the high society people to use. The pastor knows my family, but he doesn't know me. I've been protected by my parents for him to know.
I walk with my stuff to the church where the wedding is taking place. I have put on a cute, not too expensive, not too cheap white dress and semi white high heels. I walk through the door, putting down my things.
The people there turn at the door movement, and I am met with Abraxas' cold gray eyes, his mouth turning down into a scowl. Beside him clings a platinum blond woman whose pale blue eyes widen at my arrival.
"She's wearing white. Why is she wearing white? I'm supposed to be the only one. Make her stop, baby!" She whines at my husband-to-be.
Looking back, that should have been enough warning, but nope.
"You have to change," Abraxas says, kissing the other woman's temple in a caring and soothing way.
"Eh, why? Am I not the bride?" I ask in confusion, not following the train of thoughts between these people. The other woman starts to cry loudly.
"She's so mean already. Why is she already mean?" She whales and I take a step back. What the fuck.
Before I can react, an older woman, the spitting image of a younger woman on the other side of Abraxas grabs my arm harshly.
"Stop being a needy brat and get changed already. We don't have time for your prima donna tendencies. Isn't it enough that you are going to be my son's legal wife? You don't have to be a bitch about it too." She says, as she drags me to a side room. In there she gives me a cheap badly fitting black dress and black flats to wear.
"Change and come out! We don't like to be kept waiting." She walks out, and I'm left alone with my thoughts.
I knew I was only to be a wife through a contract, but I didn't know he already had a woman in his life. I don't follow the gossip of the town much, the only thing I saw was an opportunity to finally get some time with the man I've been crushing on. Time to win him over. As humiliated I feel, I do as they say and we are married with me in black, while the blonde woman cries hysterically into my new mother-in-law's arms.
She is acting like this is a funeral, not a wedding.
I'm shaken from my thoughts by a shout from an annoying high pitched voice of Celia, Abraxas's little sister.
She is shouting for me to get downstairs for god only knows what, and I am done. This time I will not answer her beck and call. I know the consequences all too well if I don't follow instructions through and through, I've lived through them all - beatings with belts, canes, shouting, degrading and starving.
But today I got something else other than me to fight for. Something they will never touch or even look at in the wrong way. They have no idea. No idea who lived here for 6 years. No idea who they have mistreated for six years - most of the time just because someone was bored or needed an outlet.
I pack the last of my things, making sure everything I was supplied with from this horrible family is still in the closet. I am only taking the things I brought with me - including the wedding dress I brought to church that day. I look outside the window, a calm falling over me as I hug myself. This has to be done, and the more I think about it the more it feels right. In my heart and in my head.
I tried for six years to get him to love me back, and now there is nothing left but promises broken.
CHAPTER 2 I Want A Divorce
My time in the Harlow family is over.
I have been here for over 6 horrible years, as a wife, but never as a part of the family. Downstairs Celia is yelling my name again, but today I just don't care. She can scream all she wants. I am not going to answer anymore.
I have been the quiet dutiful wife, and treated like a slave, while my husband has been cheating on me from day one. Trying to earn his love and affection - and the love and affection of the family, which never came. Well, no more.
My phone rings.
"Ana! We are here, where are you?" The man on the other end asks. I laugh out loud. If only the Harlow's knew who I really am. They think of me as a nobody. A scum with no real background. A scam to keep their precious Charlotte out of the spotlight, because she is too delicate. I could hurl. She is anything but delicate!
"I'm on my way downstairs now. Stay at the main gate, I'll walk to you." I say and hang up bef
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