The Substitute Bride: Making Memories Of Us-n

Chapter 32: The Wife's Duty


"What do you think? Mrs. Clark, are you satisfied?" said a voice from behind Ayla. It was Brian. She turned to face him. Her expression was wary. "Mr. Clark, what do you want?". "What do you think?" Brian said softly, moving closer to her. He lifted her chin, tilting her face so she had no choice but to meet his eyes. "I can return to the entertainment club. I can keep washing dishes," Ayla offered. Brian shook his head adamantly. "No. You don't have to go back. Your sweetheart has spent a lot of money to get you out of that place and allow you to continue. being Mrs. Clark. Do you want to let him down?" She said nothing. Brian added, "So from now on, you live here. Get used to it. He stepped back and turned away from her, walking into his own bedroom, which was the master room on the other side of the. hallway. As soon as he closed the door behind him, Ayla walked inside her room. She gazed at the pretty purple bed sheets, the gauzy beige curtains, and the pure white wardrobe and dresser. It was a lovely, feminine room. She couldn't believe she would be living here. She felt as though she didn't deserve this. She wandered out to the private balcony, which overlooked the lawn. She spent the rest of the afternoon seated on a lounge chair, enjoying the sunlight and the breeze and the gorgeous view of. colorful flowers strewn over the grass. The sun was setting when she heard a knock at the door. "Come in," she called. Maria entered. "Mrs. Clark, dinner is ready," she said respectfully. Ayla took a last look at the beautiful orange sky. She smiled to herself. "Thanks, I'll be right down. She entered the dining room to find Brian already seated at the head of the table, reading a newspaper. She stopped near the doorway and said, "Hello, Mr. Clark. He gave her an impatient look. "Well, don't just stand there. Do you need me to invite you to sit down?". He put down the newspaper beside him and gave her a cold look. She hurried to the table and sat down. The atmosphere in the dining room was so tense she didn't even dare to glance at him. "Stop being so scared,” he snapped. "You're going to have to get used to this lifestyle. He began eating the sumptuous food prepared for them, but Ayla had lost her appetite. She forced herself to finish the food so he wouldn't snap at her again. After dinner, Brian went to the living room, where there was a large-screen television mounted on the wall. Ayla peeked in and saw that he was watching a financial news program. It was rare for him to stay at home like this, and as long as he was in there, she didn’t want to enter the living room. She picked up her plate, intending to take it to the kitchen, but Maria suddenly appeared beside her. "Mrs

Clark, I'll clean the table. You can go and keep Mr. Clark company. Ayla hesitated, but Maria took the empty plate from her hand and replaced it with a bowl of fruit. "This is Mr. Clark's favorite snack. Go on, you can take it with you when you join him. Maria was deliberately trying to create opportunities for the two of them to get to know each other. She thought Mr. Clark must have changed h is mind, which was why he'd brought Mrs. C lark back and arranged for her to live in . the room on the sec ond floor. Ayla took a deep breath and went t o the living room. "Here, Mr. Clark,” she said soft ly, putting down the bowl of fru it on the table in front of him. She was not used to living like t his. She had so many questions, bu t she was afraid of angering him. Brian brought o ut a phone and h anded it to her. "Here ," he said. "Call your sweetheart and tell him how wel l you're doing here. "No, I don't want t o disturb his happi ness," she replied. Ayla had made u p her mind not to disturb Toby. She did not want to be the other w oman between them. Brian gla nced cool ly at her. "Good. It's better this way. Keep in mind that your duty now is to live here and act as a good wife. Her duty? What did he mean b y "good wife?" . She stared at him with her lips pa rted in surprise. Was it her duty to endure his overbearing attitude and satisfy his needs?She found h er situation helpless and painful, and she . had to force her self to be pleas ant towards him. For instance, because he said he did not l ike spending the whole night with anyone, she had to drag her aching body back to her . own room ev ery time th ey had sex. Her body was the price s he had to pay for her lux urious living conditions. For the rest of the week, she co uld barely sleep. She stayed awake until dawn, her t houghts churning. Toby, seated in his office, was feeling restless. It had been a long time since he neg otiated with Brian. When he'd gone to the entertainment c lub, the staff members there informed him that Lala was not there anymore. Apparently, Brian had ta ken her away. He did not trust Bri an at all. He worried that Lala would suff er, but he was willing to gambl e on his company's big project. When Molly entered the office, she saw that To by was deep in thought. Was he thinking about that woman again? Molly frowned, wondering if the woman had left because she had fallen in love with . some one else. Or did she realize her fault? Had she d ecided on her own that she would no long er be a third party coming between them? . She walke d towards the desk. "Toby ," she said. When Molly calle d his name, he ca me to his senses. "Oh, hello. You' re here," he said , smiling at her. Recently he had been ignoring her, because his mind and heart were full of thoughts of Ayla. "I have some soup for you," she said, holdin g up a bag in her hand. "You've been working so hard these pas t weeks. Do you need to be working overt ime so much? Dad and Mom hope you'll be . able to spe nd more tim e with me

She led him to the sofa and handed h im a bowl of soup. Toby began drinking the warm soup. He said, "Don't worry. I'll come home early today. While he couldn't stop himself fr om loving Lala, he couldn't forge t his duties towards Molly either. One day, while Ayla was helping t o clean the villa, she considered her dream of returning to school. She thought she wouldn't be able to, but still, she could n't stop herself from hoping. Afterward, she sat alo ne in the living room w ith a book in her hand. She was getting drowsy whe n her mobile phone suddenl y rang, jolting her awake. She glan ced at th e screen. It was a n unknow n number. She lifted an eyebrow, wondering who it could be, because only a very few people knew her number. Maria heard the ringi ng and poked her head into the living room. "Mrs. Clark, aren't you going to answer that? It might be Mr. Clark. Maria was worried that Mr. Clark w as calling, and that he would be angry if Mrs. Clark didn't answer. Mr. Clark had not come home for s everal days now. He must hav e been extr emely busy. Ayla hesitate d, then tappe d the screen. "Hello?" s he said te ntatively. "It 's me. She immediately rec ognized the familiar voice on the phone. "Siste r?" she asked. Pressing her mobile phone to her ea r, she rushed out past Maria and we nt to her room on the second floor. “Oh, so you still remember me! I thought you'd forgott en me," Arlene said sharply. "You know, becau se you hooked up with Mr. Clark. "Why would you say that?" Ay la said, upset. "Why are you cal ling? Where are y ou calling from?" . Ayla was used to Arlene' s sarcasm, but she didn' t care for it this time. Since their childhood, she had been like Cinderella, while Ar lene was the arrogant princess. "Where I am is none of yo ur business. I'm just call ing because I need money. Arlene had always spent money lavishly, going to bars and nightclubs and foolin g around with different men every night. She used to be quite wealthy, but she'd gone through all her cash by now, so s he decided to ask her sister for money. Ayla sighed and said, "My sister, I don't ha ve money to give you. She'd used up all her savings t o pay for tuition, and now she' d been sold to Brian by Clayton. Although she was living in this huge v illa, she couldn't go to school, nor co uld she work and earn money of her own. "You don't have money? Aren't you Mrs. Clar k? Dad said that you're living in a gorgeo us villa, being driven around by expensive . cars. How ca n you not h ave money?" . Arlene dem anded incr edulously. Her voice grew angry as she added, "Or ar e you just looking down on me because we' re not related by blood? Maybe you're just . refusing to give me money because you're selfish!" . Ayla pu rsed he r lips. Apparently, not only did Arlene know her phone number, she also knew every thing about Ayla's living conditions. "Sister, it's not what you think,” s he said miserably. Ayla didn't even have the right to go outsi de without permission. What her sister imagined to be a li fe of limitless wealth was actually a life of entrapment and loneliness. In truth, Ayla would rathe r be free and poor than li ve in this luxurious cage