If Only She Had

A continuation of "The House in the Valley", which I wrote last year.

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1. If Only She Had

  Note: Although this series has chronological order (In chronological order:  If Only She Had, To Love Chaos, The House in the Valley, and  Avenged), you should probably read them in order of the series. 

•••

    The snow fell gently on the fields as the darkness shrunk, and the quaint little house that sat in the valley was still— completely still. The serenity, though, seemed to have a pulse; it seemed to be alive in some way. Thump, thump, thump, thump, went the silence. Thump, thump, thump, thump…

    Maybe it was this pulse, beating so loudly in the silence, that awoke Katey Miller. Her eyes still closed, she slowly drifted into consciousness. She turned over, not wanting to wake up yet, not wanting to open her eyes. Waking up meant another day of hard labor, another day of suffering, and another day’s small pay. But that little amount of money was just enough to help her survive to the next day, and she was told that was all that mattered. The days drifted by, all the exact same as the last; wake up, eat, get dressed, use a little vanilla for a fresh scent, go to work, get paid, come home, eat, undress, go to bed, and sleep. She needed all the sleep she could get. She worked all day until the last inch of sunlight disappeared. 

    So she couldn’t be awake yet!

    She fought herself to go back to sleep, but something wasn’t allowing her to. She stood up, ambled to the kitchen, and grabbed herself something to eat. She picked up her heavy, layered dress and groaned. She hadn’t done the wash in weeks, and now this was the only thing left to wear.

    I suppose I’ll have to do the wash tomorrow, she sighed. She put on her underwear, then her corset, then her dress, and then her blister-inducing shoes that had very small heels. 

    She checked herself in the mirror and ran her fingers through her brown hair. She picked up her comb and ran it through it a couple times. She grabbed a piece of her hair, separated it into three, then laced it together into a braid. She grabbed a pin and pinned her braid back. She quickly dabbed on some vanilla, then walked to the door to leave.

    She was met with the most startling sight.

    “Hello. Is this the Miller residence?” said a tall man with long, beautiful, shiny black hair. 

    “T-This is,” stammered Katey. She was surprised and pretty nervous to have such a handsome stranger show up at her house.

    The man smiled. “Hello, miss. I’ve come here to seek Ms. Katey. Is there any way—“

    “This is she,” Katey blurted. She blushed. 

    There was an awkward silence.

    “Would you like to come in, s-sir?” she asked timidly.

    “Ah, that’d be a pleasure, Miss.”

    She stepped aside to let him in and shut the door behind him. The stranger took it upon himself to sit in one of the red armchairs and kick his feet up on the ottoman. Katey was slightly irritated, but she let it go. She walked over and sat in the armchair across from the man.

    “Hmm. You haven’t said a word since I came in.” He looked at Katey. “Do you not know who I am?” he asked it like you would ask a child, and, as a mature fifteen-year-old, Katey was personally offended to be talked to in such a way.
    I probably do not, sir, because I asked you why you were here, Katey retorted in her mind. You’re certainly not a scholar.

    But she didn’t say that, being the well-mannered lady that she was. Instead she took a deep breath and slowly released it. “No, sir. I’ve no idea.”

    “Why, I am your husband!” the man exclaimed, a smile crawling onto his face, his white teeth gleaming.

    “Husband?!” gasped Katey. I had no idea that Mother had betrothed me!

    “Why, yes! I have been called here today. I saw this house and I thought, ‘Only destiny could have led me here.’ And I ran up here and saw you dressing in the—“

    Katey’s eyebrows creased in irritation, her brown eyes shining. “You watched me dres—?!”

    The man interrupted Katey interrupting him. “—saw you dressing in the window and I thought, ‘Ah, yes. Only destiny.’ And so I come here and knock on the door and here we are.”

    “You expect me to marry you?!” growled Katey. “You…you…!”

    “Please, call me Jacob.” Jacob grinned, humor in his piercing green eyes.

    “Hhhhh! How can you joke about that?!” Katey was at a loss for words.

    “Ah, I can because I know destiny.”

    “How can you even begin to think—I would never…!”

    “You’re a gorgeous young lady of— how many years?”

    “Fifteen.”

    “You’re a—“
    “You had to ask—“

    “You’re a gorgeous young lady of fifteen years, and I am a rather handsome man of nineteen. You were meant for me. Destiny has brought us together, and you can’t defy destiny.”
    “I can’t de—“

    “You can’t, my dear.”

    “Don’t you dare call me your dear! I am not going to marry you wretched—!” Katey sniffed indignantly and flung herself up, stomping away.

    Jacob snickered behind her, eyes full of amusement. “Terribly roomy house,” he joked. “Seems like you’ve got money to spare.” 

    Katey stopped short and spun around, about to snark again, but Jacob continued, looking at his nails, looking at his reflection in them, blowing on them. “Too bad that you already have prior obligations. And I was just about to offer my fortune for your hand in marriage.”

    “Fortune?”

    Jacob looked up at her, his lips pursed in a sarcastic manner.

    Katey spoke the next few sentences carefully. “You, a handsome man like yourself, would willingly marry a woman like me? Not only that, but you would give that undeserving woman your fortune— all of it? Is this a dream?”
    Jacob stood up and walked over to Katey. He stood barely a foot away from her. She took a step back.

    “Oh, no, my dear,” Jacob said, stepping closer. 

    Katey stepped back again. She glanced behind her and cursed internally when she that a corner stood just about four steps back. Then she’d be stuck.

    “It’s not to good to be true.” Step forward for Jacob, step back for Katey, three steps until the wall. “It’s destiny.” Step forward, step back, two steps until the wall. “It’s love.” Step forward, step back, one step until the wall. “I love you, Katey.” Step forward, step back. When Katey felt the hard, splintery wood on her back, she panicked inside. What would this crazy, crazy man do while he had her here?

    Jacob placed his left arm on the wall beside her and leaned his body on the other wall so that his body blocked her from getting out and from his elbow back blocked her other way to get out. His left hand stroked her hair. 

    He lowered his voice to a whisper and repeated what he’d said. “I love you, Katey.”

    Tears rose in Katey’s eyes. Why had they, though? She wasn’t a crybaby. Was she just that scared?

    “Say it back,” he said. 

    Silence.

    “Say it back,” he said through gritted teeth.

    Tears coming closer to the surface.

    “Say it back!” he demanded.

    A tear falling.

    “Say it back!” he demanded, yanking what hair he had in his hand.

    More tears.

    Jacob closed the space between them. He lowered his mouth to her ear. “I love you, Katey,” he whispered. “I love you.” He yanked her hair. “I love you,” he snarled, his voice becoming slightly animalistic.

    Katey’s tears rolled down her cheeks, and she turned her head to look the crazy man in the eyes. “I…I…I love you, too, Jacob,” she said, the words coming out in scarcely a whisper.

    He gripped her hair tighter and pulled it and held it tight. “Louder,” he said, grinning like the maniac he was.

    “I love you, Jacob,” she said, her voice a normal speaking volume.

    He pulled hair harder, and her tears came faster. Katey grimaced. 

    “I said say it louder, wench!” He pulled even harder. 

    It felt like her hair was this close ripping out of her skull. “I love you, Jacob!” she said hysterically. “I love you, I love you!”

    “Show me,” he said, letting go of her hair, his mouth pulling into a smiling snarl. “Show me!”

    “How?” she asked. She was afraid of what he’d answer.

    “Kiss me.”

    She inwardly breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn’t anything worse, but tears still were streaming down her face as she grabbed his body and planted a kiss on his lips. 

    Jacob’s snarl turned darker, the smile disappearing from it. He put his hand around her throat. “Kiss me!”

    She kissed him again, the same way.

    He tightened his grip on her throat. “Kiss me!”

    His grip was now so tight that her voice box rubbed harshly against his hand, even as she just breathed. Katey kissed him again, tossing her fear into it.

    Jacob seemed to like how scared she was. She was shaking. Jacob kissed her, gently, calmly, comfortingly, but she knew how insane he was. She wanted to shake her head, to push him away, to get to work, to turn back time and never had invited him in. But she couldn’t, and, if she did, he was too strong. So she let him kiss her. His kisses turned into bites. Hard bites, all over her face and what places he could reach from there. She was terrified. She hated it. 

    She moaned in pain, but this only seemed to feed Jacob. 

    Please, oh, God! Please make him stop! 

    And, with that thought, an idea came to her mind. 

    “J-Jacob?” she managed to choke.

    He stopped and looked up at her from her shoulder, his hand still tight around her neck. “Yes, dear?”

    “I-I love you, but…but we should save this until after the marriage. I’m afraid that I will be seen and scorned for this if anyone else sees me with you like this without us being married.”

    “Well, per…haps you’re right.” Jacob slowly took a step back, releasing her neck. He seemed sad that it had ended so soon.

    Katey took a deep breath. She could feel the hand still on her throat, even though it wasn’t. She wanted to break down in sobs right there, but she didn’t. She couldn’t. She wouldn’t let herself.

    Jacob smiled slowly. “We shall be married very soon…Hmm, this evening at sundown. I will make arrangements.”

    What?! That’s to soon f—

    “Yes, sir— yes, Jaco— yes, love.” She interrupted her thoughts, trying to find the right title to convince him. 

    “I shall get you a dress.”

    “Yes, love,” she said in a flat voice.

    “I shall invite your parents, my parents, my brother— and Molly, of course, your best friend. You wouldn’t want your best friend missing your own wedding.”

    She was surprised that he knew about where to find her parents to invite them, and she wondered how he knew that who her best friend was, but she wouldn’t let her surprise show. “Yes, love.”

    Jacob walked over to the door. “Goodbye, Katey, my bride. I love you.”

    “G-Goodbye, Jacob, my heart. I love you, too,” Katey said, barely holding on.

    Jacob walked out, shutting the door. 

    Katey’s knees buckled, and she fell to the ground like a rag doll. Her heaving sobs were more like kicks to the chest, and she could barely breathe. She vomited between her sobs. She felt like she was dying.

    Jacob watched happily through the window.

---

 

    Katey walked solemnly to the altar of the great cathedral. Her heavy white dress had beautiful beads and embroidery on it, and her long lace veil was the best that money could buy, but she was an inch away from ripping everything apart. Her mother and her best friend cried happily. Her father stood, looking intently at Jacob, who looked very handsome in his perfectly tailored black suit. Jacob’s green eyes shone with love as Katey stepped onto the altar.

    The priest blabbed on and on about “uniting” and “love” but Katey was lost in studying the face of her husband-to-be, the violent, impulsive, maniac. The one who she swore was about to kill her. She noticed the creases around his eyes that were there from his smiling. She saw a light, thin scar across his jaw. She noted how part of his earlobe was cut off and how, even though he was only nineteen, he had dark bags under his eyes. But he was so beautiful. With those looks and his supposed money, he could have a much better wife and a much better life. But why did he have to be so crazy?

    “…to be your lawfully wedded wife?” The preacher’s voice drifted into focus.

    Jacob smiled with nothing but pure love at Katey. “I do.” 

    Katey saw the insanity behind his eyes, even though his voice was completely pure. And dreaded when she had to say, “I do.” She wished that it could end with him saying, “I do,” to no one. That that was the end of the story. That she could go back to her own life. But the short silence lasted only a few seconds before her moment came.

    “And do you, Katey Miller, take Jacob Heeler to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

    Katey took a deep breath and let it out. “I do,” she said, face and voice emotionless.

    “I now pronounce thee, husband and wife,” said the preacher, closing the Bible. “You may kiss your bride.”

    Jacob took Katey in his arms and kissed her passionately. Katey, just for a second, believed that he would be a wonderful, loving husband. Then she remembered the events that had happened earlier in the day and knew that her hopes were pointless.

 

---

 

    It was decided that Jacob would move into Katey’s house, so the next day, Jacob was completely settled in her house. He had informed Katey that he would build a workshop behind the house so that they could expand their living quarters. Katey had heard what he was saying, but she had not listened. She was still thinking about what would be happening right now if she had done something different. If she hadn’t woken up so early, if she hadn’t had invited him in, if she hadn’t listened to what he said about the money…

    The money…My money….He promised me his money. I’m not getting anything else from this marriage but this money, but this money is going to change my life. I could move out, I could live in luxury…

    Katey approached her husband. “Jacob, my love?”

    Jacob glanced up at Katey.

    “When am I going to receive your money?”

    Jacob raised an eyebrow, glancing at her again.

    “You promised me your fortune, love.”

    Jacob laughed a single laugh.

    “What is it? Is this some kind of joke?”

    Jacob looked up at his wife. “No, it’s not. It’s just that you have no proof of what I said. You have no contract signed that I relinquish my fortune to you, nothing. So, to answer your first question…you will never receive my fortune.”

    Katey was confused. He had said it so calmly. “What?” she asked.

    “I lied.”

    “You lied?” Katey’s body felt numb.

    “Yes. Humans are capable of that.”

    “You lied.” Her head was spinning.

    “Yes.”

    “You lied!”

    “Yes.”

    Her vision went blurry from her anger. She squeezed her eyes shut.

    There was a second of silence.

    Then Jacob yelled as his wife ripped him from his chair and pushed him to the ground, clawing at his skull.

    “You lied! I hate you!” she yelled, her voice raw from rage. She bit him. She scratched his back. “I hate you! I only married you because you promised and you LIED!” She pulled his hair, scratched his throat, and bit his ear as hard as she could. It slowly started to trickle blood.

    And, just like that, everything went calm. Jacob sat in silence, feeling the blood slide down his ear, his jaw, his neck, his chest, then fell onto his pants. Katey sat on his legs, heaving deep breaths.

    Jacob slowly grinned, and quickly turned over so that his wife was under him and that he was pinning her in with his body. Katey yelped. and wriggled to try to get free. Something fell out of Jacob’s sleeve, right beside Katey’s head. It caught the light of the sun as it clanked onto the floor. He nimbly picked it up. He grinned as Katey’s eyes got wide. 

    “D-Dag…” tried Katey, but she couldn’t finish her sentence.

    And just as her last breath left her, Jacob kissed his wife’s lips. “I love you, Katey.”

    The place fell silent again, this time in the middle of the day, and it seemed that the last word echoed away into nothingness, just like the girl itself, and was replaced with just a loud silence. 

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