By: Alexa Riley

I do as I’m told because what choice do I have? It’s Monday and I go to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays since I only have two classes left. The time I’m at school isn’t much help in making friends. Everyone is already in their cliques and I’m not sure anyone notices me. At least I’ll get out of the house today. Maybe I can start to think of a plan to get away from my uncle, too. More than anything I’d like to get a look at my father’s will. I was never allowed to read over it, so maybe it will give me some kind of information on my mother.

After I choke down a few bites of my breakfast I stand up to go change. Harry reaches out quickly and grabs my wrist.

“Wear something pretty. I’m going to take you out to dinner tonight after work.” l nod and after a moment he releases his tight hold on me. “And Nora.” I stop but don’t turn around to look at him. “Remember if anyone asks, you’re not my niece.”

He repeats the same thing he’s been saying to me since I’ve come to stay with him. I nod silently again and go to my bedroom to get ready.

When I’m all set I go to the entryway to wait for Harry so that we can go to his office. At least I think that’s where we’ll go. It bounces around in my head how he always pretends in public that I’m not his niece. The only person I think actually knows is Sasha.

I hear her moan from the other room and I know they’re having sex. She’s always so loud. I wonder if she does it on purpose or if that’s how women sound when they’re having sex. The thought of Harry and sex makes me want to gag. Apparently it doesn’t for Sasha because it’s easy to tell she wants him. I don’t understand why. He’s always rude and dismissive of her. I don’t think she’d be happy if she knew about the other women that come in late at night. My uncle doesn’t hide them from me. I’m pretty sure he was getting it on with the tutor he hired for me for those first few weeks.

I find it hard to wrap my mind around having so many lovers. The act of sex to me seems intimate and close, or maybe I only feel that way because no one has ever looked at me with lust in their eyes except him and that makes me feel gross.

My father never had women like that around. They all seemed to be people he worked with for the most part, but what do I know? Sometimes when I think back on losing him, I wonder if not being close was a blessing. It made losing him not so painful. It still hurt, but I know it could’ve been worse. I knew he loved me. I just don’t think he ever planned on children. I don’t know who my mother is, and for all I know she could be dead, too. I brought up the subject once to my uncle thinking it might be easier for him to tell me about her, but he shut me down as fast as my father.

Finally the moaning stops and a few minutes later Sasha comes out with a smirk that is directed at me. She walks past me with a smug look and I don’t understand why she’s threatened by my presence. I’m his niece, for god's sake.

“He’ll always be mine,” she says slowly.

I stare at her in confusion. Why would I care if they are together? In all honesty, I feel sorry for her. Why would she want to be with a man like him? He uses her and tosses her away until he needs her again. That’s something I’d never want, but maybe that’s how relationships work and I’m living in a fairy tale. l read too many romance novels, but I’ll take that over her reality any day of the week.

I stand up when I hear my uncle’s footsteps. I don’t want to test his easily wavering temperament.

When he took me out to dinner a few nights ago he chose what I was going to wear. I thought it was a little too showy for my taste, but he demanded I wear it and I wasn’t willing to have a fight with him about it. It wasn’t long into the dinner when he’d flipped and pulled me from my chair by my arm accusing me of being a whore and flirting with his client. The only thing I said to his client was that it was nice to meet him. My uncle was livid the whole way back home before he locked me in my bedroom.

I thought I dreamed it when I woke up the next morning, but the bruise was there on my arm as evidence. That hadn’t been the worst of it. I could have sworn I heard him with another woman that night having sex, but he was calling her by my name. I keep telling myself maybe she just had the same name as me, but my gut is telling me otherwise.

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