We did it. Finally. Adam and I. Against all odds, we got married. Signed the papers, said our vows. It’s done. Although I fear it’s not over yet. Yet he makes me feel safe. He says he’ll protect me. From the barrier between my dreams. He says he’ll protect me from him. We say our goodbyes to all those who came to celebrate with us and thank them for their blessings. We need them. I need them. If one thing life has taught me, not to believe in love. For there is a greater force called fate that controls us. So I gave him my hand, not my heart. For I can trust him to  protect my body but my heart can not bear being man-handled.

Inside our honeymoon suite, we sit side by side sparing slow and short glances towards each other as our eyes meet momentarily. I wonder how he feels. I wonder if he too, like the others, has a beast inside of him just waiting to be called out. I wonder if he knows I didn’t marry him for his love. I married him for his promise. I married him for my own selfish security reasons. I bid farewell to my family home for I wanted to live. I didn’t want to constantly fear the knife that was forever hovering over my neck. He drove me away from my own home. Now I’m here, away from my past and beside my future.

As I’m about to open my mouth to speak his does to. And the slight tension is cleared as we both let out a chuckle. ‘You go first’ I say as his words coincide with mine. Another wave of laughter crosses the two of us as he smiles at me. I tell him I’m going to change and he nods as I walk away from him. Inside the bathroom, I feel an unsettling presence behind me. Like a shadow that’s following me. More specifically, his shadow. I run out to Adam as he looks at me worried. I tell him what I saw and he brings me into his embrace whispering phrases of reassurance into my ears. He pulls away as he stares into my eyes and says “There is nothing to be afraid of as long as I’m beside you,” followed a peck on my colored lips. It brings an uninvited smile and he takes it as a sign to do it again. His lips against my own make me forget the world around us.

As I’m too preoccupied by the heat that surrounds us, I feel hands go around my throat, slowly and casually taking my breath away. I pull away from the kiss to see him stand where my husband was. His malicious smile as I struggle to breathe drains all my strength to scream for help. I’m slowly slipping in and out of conscious as a knife is jabbed inside my stomach and the last words I hear before I black out are; “Welcome to the rest of your life!” 

I feel someone shake me awake and as I open my eyes I see myself back in my home surrounded by my brothers and father who’s chanting panicked questions of my safety and well-being. I can’t help but be demented for he was right here. “Who was?” I frown up at him as I look around frantically. “There’s nobody here, it was all a dream.” He calms me.

As I settle down, he informs me of a cousin from a bit far coming to stay with us. I nod as he invites him inside the room. “Susan, meet Danny.” It’s him. It really is him. I struggle to keep a straight face as he breaks into a smile. The same sadist smile that was in my dream. As my father leaves to attend a call, he looks me straight in the eye and whispers, “It’s not a dream darling. It’s a nightmare. I’ll say it one more time, Welcome to the rest of your life.” 

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