Slowly and wearily, she climbed the stairs to her bedroom. As she passed down the hallway, she noticed the door to a room, which none of the guests had occupied, was standing ajar. In fact, she remembered specifically, this room had been kept locked the entire time they had been there. As they were touring the house, she had asked Brandon to show her the room. He had been adamant that this room was to remain locked. He said it held bad memories for the family, and no one used it any more. She felt her heart thump wildly as she stared at the open door.
She walked to the doorway but hesitated before going inside. The room drew her to it, as if someone wanted her to see it. She walked slowly inside. There were pictures in the room, mostly of Brandon. Some of the pictures included the woman whose portrait she had seen hanging in the hall. They looked happy together. She wondered who this woman might be. She ran her hand over the face, as if this would tell her the answer she sought.
“Quite pretty, isn’t she?”
Jessica started. She spun toward the voice coming from beside the window. She had not seen him when she entered the room.
“What are you doing in here, Jeffrey? Brandon told me this room was off limits to everyone.”
He chuckled. “I see, but yet here you are, aren’t you?”
She blushed, started to protest, and then decided she didn’t owe him any explanations; she said nothing.
“Well, aren’t you the least bit interested in who she is? But of course, you are, or you wouldn’t be in here.”
She felt contempt at that moment. Heat rose to her face, brought on by his taunting. She threw back her shoulders.
“No, as a matter of fact, I am not. If Brandon wanted me to know who she is, or was, he would have told me.”
“Oh, come now,” he replied, walking over to where she stood, taking the picture from her hand. “It’s obvious to me from the way these two are looking at each other, they’re in love. Wouldn’t you agree?” he asked, thrusting the picture back at her.
“As I said,” she spat, snatching the photo from his outstretched hand. “If Brandon wanted to talk about it, he would have done so. It is none of my business until he does.”
He shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly. “Well, if I were going to marry someone, I would certainly want to know everything there was to know about her. Don’t you agree?”
She didn’t answer him. She didn’t want him to know he was right. Instead, she turned to leave the room, before Brandon could catch them together again. That was the last thing she wanted.
Before she could reach the doorway, Jeffrey said, “Jessica.”
She stopped, although she didn’t know why she felt compelled to do so, but she did not turn around. She hated to admit it, but her curiosity had been peaked. When she didn’t move on, Jeffrey began speaking.
“I think you should reconsider your decision to marry my brother. He doesn’t know how to treat a wife, just ask him. I’m sure he’ll tell you; after all, he tells you everything, right?”
He started laughing then, and Jessica, unable to stand it, ran from the room. She ran all the way to her room. She was relieved to find that Brandon had not yet come upstairs. She didn’t want him to know that she had a confrontation with Jeffrey again.
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