The v!rg!nwidow Episode 4 & 5

THE v!rg!nWIDOW.
{A Night That Never Pas-sed}
Astera’s P.O.V
I glanced at myself at the full length mirror in my room. Guess, I’m re-ady to go.
“Must you go?” Maria said beside him, worried.
“I can’t keep cowering inside the house because the town thinks I killed my husband.” I replied tonelessly.
Maria snorted. “The mister drank like a clown and staggered out of the house to his car, and drove himself to his death. He killed himself.”
Maria forgot to add that Daniel beat me up in the room and left me half dead before he staggered off.
Or maybe she didn’t forget. She just doesn’t want to remind me of it.
Maria thinks I’ll be able to forget it all if it we don’t ever talk about it. My poor housekeeper.
I can never forget any of it. Not even in my dreams.
“Christine ra-phael is my friend and she finally gave birth. It’s only normal that I go and congratulate her.” I explained to my housekeeper.
Maria hesitated, then the older woman nodded before she turned and left.
I stood a few seconds at the door of the ra-pheals. From outside, i can hear the clattering of people, the bickering, the laughter. Then, I opened the door and entered.
People st©pped talking and laughing. Everywhere bec@m£ as silent as a tombhouse. All eyes at me.
I kept my head high and kept walking. I refuse to be show them that their judgemental eyes affected me.
“Astera!” Christine g@sped, excited.
Seeing my friend, I smiled and relaxed. I walked to her, “Christine.” We hvgged each other, “Congrats on the baby.”
“Thanks, my friend.” She beamed happily.
Conversation resumed and the atmosphere relaxed again. I re-leased a breath I didn’t know I was holding.
I turned and my eyes landed on Stefan. My heart ti-ght£ñed in pain.
I should have known that he’d been here, because he’s a business p@rtner to Christine’s husband.
He stared at me. I stared right back.
I refuse to back down or bend my head low. Although I was all jittery inside, I refuse to let Stefan see how much he gets to me.
I found an empty seat around the corner and lowered myself to it.
I stayed during the religious sayings and offering of gifts before I decided that I’ve had enough.
I looked around but I couldn’t see my friend Christine to tell her that I’ll be taking my leave. It won’t be fair that I just leave without informing her.
Let me just go and get some fresh air.
I got up and made my way outside. The first wave of fresh air hit me and I smiled wi-dely to it. It’s not so suffocating anymore.
I searched for a secluded place where no one is walking throu-gh. I smiled when I found it.
The night sky seems very beautiful. I walked towards the flower and lowered myself to a pavement beside it.
I took a de-ep breath. Finally, some peace and quietness.
“You’ve always liked the night.” c@m£ a familiar de-ep voice behind me.
My heart skipped several beats before I turned around to glance at Stefan. “You followed me out.” I said, not really asking a question.
“I can use some fresh air too. It is quite crowded in there.” He gro-an ed.
The way I feel tonight, I don’t think I can appreciate a close contact with him.
The way people treated me in there…like a killer that nee-ds to be shunned, made me feel so raw inside.
“Can you go another place, Stefan? plea-se.” I asked him softly. I don’t want to fight with him right now. I feel emotionally drained.
But Stefan took it as a rejection.
His gaze turned skeptical. “There was once a time when you couldn’t bear to be away from me. . What happened to all those love you claimed you had for me?” He asked mockingly.
I turned away from him, lifting my face to the sky. I ignored him knowing that it will infuriate him. Stefan always hates being ignored.
Perhaps it’ll make him leave me alone.
But he didn’t.
“Can you st©p ignoring me, Astera!?” He thun-dered, angrily.
The loud voice startled me and I quic-kly glanced at him in terror.
Raised voice….loud noises….I hate them so much.
Stefan didn’t notice because he was still so angry.
“You were the one who threw everything away! You were the one who destroyed us and you have the guts to sit down there and claim self righteous!” His voice raised and quite angry, as he took a step towards me.
I bolted up, backing away from him. Filled with fear and knee-de-ep terror.
Daniel….I can only see my late husband Daniel, angry as usual and coming to beat me up.
“No! Daniel, plea-se!” I cried out, raising my hands protectively towards my face to block the b!ows I was sure is to come.
Stefan’s P.O.V.
I couldn’t sleep. It’s well past midnight and I still can’t sleep.
I remember my last encounter with Astera and I feel angry and bad, at the same time.
I’m angry because she thinks that I’ll raise my hand on her? When have I ever gave her that impression?
But then again, she mentioned Daniel. Does it mean that her late husband la-id his hands on her that way?
I remember Daniel. He and Astera were really good friends, he just doesn’t have it in him to beat a woman. He just doesn’t.
So, what was all that about?
Why do I care anyway? I asked myself. She chose him over me three years ago, so why should I care?
Except, I do.
The next morning, I went to see Astera. I really want to keep off….but I feel bad when I remember last night.
I can’t seem to get her reaction and the way she ran away from me afterwards out of my mind.
I knocked on the door and her housekeeper answered. She gave me a little smile that didn’t reach her eyes.
“Mr MacFarlane.”
“Is Astera inside?” I asked.
The woman hesitated, like she was contemplating if she should tell me the truth or not.
“Follow me.” She sighed out at last.
She led me inside towards the long hallway that leads to a whole different p@rt of the house.
“She changed rooms after Mr Reed’s death.” The woman said as a way of explanation as we walked. Finally, we c@m£ to a st©p at a door.
I told her that I’ll take it from there and watched her leave. Before she left, she turned and said to me;
“Take it easy with her, Mr MacFarlane. She has been throu-gh enough alre-ady.”
I puzzled the words as the woman walked away.
💖Astera’s P.O.V💖
I heard a knock on the door. I dropped the book I was re-ading and went to answer it.
Stefan stood there, the sight taking me by surprise. As usual, the sight of him took my breath away.
He was dressed casually and his face more relaxed than I’ve seen him since he returned back to Magnolia.
“Hi.” He said, his voice softly and not at all like the cutting way it used to be.
“Hi.” I replied breathlessly, not knowing what to make of this new Stefan. Is it because of what happened last night? I had felt so ashamed afterwards.
Stefan had looked so shocked…even hurt.
“Can I come in?” He asked.
I swallowed, taking a few steps back to allow him into the room. “I’m sorry about the way it looks.” I said, indicating the lack of furnitures.
“It’s okay. You don’t want a lot of things in the room?” He asked, looking around.
I shook my head, “It’s not that. I’m moving out.” I revealed softly.
“Why?” He asked, turning to look at me with surprise. “It’s a beautiful house. All his as-sets are yours now.”
The house is the only thing of Daniel that c@m£ to me after his will was re-ad, but the house is the one thing I don’t want to keep.
Too many bad memories. I want a fresh start.
“I bought a house outside of town. It’s a small but beautiful ap@rtment and it suits me better.” I replied instead.
“Outside of town?” He asked as he lowered himself on the be-d, “You don’t want to stay in Magnolia, anymore?”
My che-st ti-ght£ñed but I still managed to smile. I walked to the dressed and sat down on it’s chair.
I shook my head, “I can’t stay in a place everyone things of me as a murderer who killed her own husband.”
He nodded and fell silent.
I drank in his appearance. This man that used to be my world three years ago. I loved him so much and I made no secret of it.
“What happened last night, Astera?” He asked softly.
My heart skipped three beats. “Did anything happen last night?” I asked evasively.
But he wouldn’t fall for it.
“You know what I’m talking about. The way you behaved…the way you moved away from me like I was a devil coming to get you.” He said, his usually ha-rd voice was sad.
He continued. “I know I’ve been very angry at you, but surely you never thought that I would l@ymy hand on you, did you?”
“No.” I answered truthfully. For all his short temperament, Stefan would never l@ya hand on a woman that way.
“Then, what happened?” He asked.