Asi’s expression remained the same the whole time she spoke, her voice low and cold. She talked about the life she built for herself and how she was taken from it for his own entertainment. He knew for a fact that the reason for pulling her from her new world to be part of his own once again was far more deeper than wanting someone to help him pass the time. He had been stuck in the past and only lived for his daughter and seeing her once again reminded him that he was still alive and there was so much more to look forward to. Now he realized it was a mistake getting in contact with her again. He didn’t regret the time they shared. Not once he would. But he it was obvious his past actions didn’t do them any good. He was right to stay away the first time she left. He should’ve left it at that… “I want the full amount you and your family owed me - no more, no less - by the end of the month. I get my money and you - can walk away. And you’ll never hear from me again,” he finished, leaving the table to proceed to the study. He couldn’t stand being in the same room as her any longer. He needed his own space.
Theia scoffed at his words. Once again he was making excuses. Excuses to keep her around. Money, entertainment, that’s what he always told her when she asked for her freedom. Now he wanted to get every cents worth from her but what did that even mean? “Really? There you go making excuses again, Asi.” She said, her voice almost gentle, “Have you really gotten your moneys worth? Three years and you never bothered to come and fetch me, your slave that you so desperately try to cling to because of “money” then when you finally have me in your grasp you claim me once again. You rip me from the life I made for myself, because you got bored and thought I would be good entertainment. Then you tell me you love me and when I get pregnant you say you’d be there but you completely draw yourself away from me and when I leave you, again, you don’t bother to come after me, your slave that you have money staked on. You don’t even want me around yet you say you want to keep me because of money? What a load of bullshit.” Her gentle voice slowly growing colder throughout her speech. No longer was she just angry with herself, she was angry with him for not being honest with himself. “What is it, Asi? You either want me or you don’t. If it’s money you’re worried about then how much? How much do I need to pay you to buy my freedom? It’s been years and I’m damaged goods now, so I might not be as much as you might think. I will pay off my cousin’s debt once and for all and I’ll be free and you won’t be able to make that excuse anymore.”
Aletheia jumped at his sudden outburst, His words caused a tightening in her chest as if he were crushing her heart and lungs within his bare hands. She wanted to tear her eyes away from him, but she was too shocked, too filled with hatred towards herself more than towards him. She hated how deeply she had come to love him, wanting nothing more than to be his completely but she hated for not fighting back like she should have so many times before instead of leaving him. It left them in this kind of situation every time she left. She would hate him for not coming after her but perhaps he truly never cared for her in the first place. Without taking her eyes off of him, she rose up from her seat, her own palm resting on the table to support herself for what she was about to say: “Then let me go.” She said quietly, calmly, her voice toneless even though inside she was an emotional wreck but she couldn’t let him see, if he never loved her she wasn’t going to grovel or weep in front of him, “I am no use to you now right? Just damaged goods. That’s what you said to me once right? I’m only bound to you by the contract that we made four years ago, a contract which I think is null and void at this point. So set me free and you’ll be free of me, of all of this…this annoyance that I’ve caused you. You’ll be free to live your life and I free to live mine and we’ll never see each other again.” She hesitated, her voice wavering slightly, “Set me free, Asi. Show me just how much you never cared and let me go. No excuses this time. No more.”
Asi felt the coldness in her voice grip him tightly and its shivering effect coursed throughout his body. Even with the knowledge that the end was near, he couldn’t bring himself to back down or correct all the wrong assumptions she just laid out in front of him. For a long time he held on to her and he held on to whatever they might have before things went entirely wrong. And now, she was asking for her freedom yet again and this time he wasn’t going to fight it. Standing straight, he keep his dark eyes fixed on her, not wanting to be in the same room as she was. Maybe once this was over it would be better. For both of them. But what about the child? What about the child? He wasn’t even sure if it was his… But did it really matter? He knew for a fact that even if the child she was carrying was not his biological child he would love it unconditionally. Like he did Sabah. Again, his lips spoke the opposite of what he had all along in his mind. Maybe he wanted to hurt her the way he was hurting but what he didn’t realize was that the more he put her through any kind of pain, he suffered even more. So, she never wanted to be owned and she wanted her freedom… “I don’t think so,” he firmly said. “I spent a lot of money on you and I intend to get every cent back and that’s what I intend to do.”
Asi felt the tip of his ears getting hot as words flowed from her lips. “I will not be insulted in my own house!” He stood up from his seat, palms jammed against the hard table’s surface, dishes and glasses shaking at the force. His eyes dark as he stared at her, chest rose up and down. He didn’t want this argument. He didn’t want to be upset and most importantly, he didn’t want her resentment but it was written on her face and he wanted to soothed them out. Instead, anger sat heavy on his chest. He was angry at himself and he found himself agreeing with her. He was never there for her, was he? And before he knew it, lies were coming out of his mouth and he wasn’t sure anymore who he was trying to hurt. “Maybe I never truly cared about you, slave.”
Aletheia leaned back in her seat, bellowing with laughter at his comment. Oh how contradictory was that statement to everything else that was happening outside of this moment, she thought, trying to calm her laughter so she could speak. “You? Show concern?” She asked, her tone laced with resentment, “Sure, you do that at first but after a while you go back on your word, don’t you? You say you’re concerned, say you want to be of service but finally when push comes to shove where is that concern you pride yourself in then? It disappears and you stop giving a damn. Isn’t that how it is? Please tell me if I’m wrong, enlighten me.”
Her eyes narrowed. She could feel her equilibrium go all helter skelter and she was not sure if it was because she was tired, angry, embarrassed or irritated with the man that sat across from her, either way she tried keeping her cool, “The food was up to my standards but you didn’t even bother to give me a chance to tell you that, did you? No, you simply just do whatever you want thinking it’s best, without even giving people a chance to explain themselves first. But I appreciate the sentiment, Asad. Really.” She feigned a look of appreciation and picked up her drink, downing it quickly. She slammed the glass down on the table, her golden eyes, having never left his face, her expression was challenging, daring him to say something else.
Asi knew that at this point, they could careless about the damn dinner. He expected for this conversation to come up but he didn’t expect it to be this soon. Well, he didn’t expect to see her on the street earlier at all but he dealt with it and he will deal with this situation now. Only he wasn’t sure if it was smart to butt heads with her especially when they were both obviously upset. But the words she uttered did anything but calm him down. His body leaned towards the table and if she was close enough he’d probably attempted to wrap a hand around her pretty little neck. No, of course he didn’t want to hurt her. Maybe he thought giving her mouth something to be busy with will shut her up. “Obviously it’s been a mistake on my part to show any concern. Aren’t we glad we don’t have to worry any of that now.” The last comment was more of a statement than a question.