"Why Jeffery? Why are you doing this to us?" Grace asked him, her gaze fixed on his grey eyes, hoping for an answer.
"Just sign these goddamn papers, Grace, so that I can finally start living my life. In fact, enjoying my life," Jeffery threw an annoyed look at her. Just like his tone, it really appears that he cannot wait to get rid of her.
"Do you really want our marriage to end? Just like that?" She tried to get some kind of positive emotion from his side, but it was a futile attempt. However, she was not able to come to terms with the fact that he was willing to throw away their eighteenth month of marriage. To some, it may appear to be a short period of time, but not for her. Hell, they were supposed to still be in their honeymoon stage.
"To be completely honest? I never even wanted to get married to you. You were just an obstacle standing in my way. Now that I don't need you, I can safely return to my old life." Her soon-to-be ex-husband stated emphatically.
His comments were as if a knife had been thrust into her heart.
"I… What exactly do you mean? Come on, Jeffery. You cannot feel that way. You went out of your way to court me. You proposed to me. We love each other…." He didn't, however, allow her to finish. He even shuddered at the affection as if it was voodoo.
"Grace, I've never loved you. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I didn't even feel any kind of friendship with you. Moreover, I couldn't love you. You were just a way to get what I wanted. Only a means to an end for me," he said, with his arms crossed.
"I don't understand." Grace's eyes welled up, tears threatening to fall. Somewhere deep down, she knew that Jeffery's words would not be to her liking. She only hoped that she wouldn't hate him or despise herself in the end.
"My not-so-naïve little-to-be-ex-wife. Well, you already know that I run restaurants. But I wanted to start my own chain, and I needed funding. I couldn't get a loan as the amount was too large. Dad could have easily invested, but he refused. He didn't think that I was ready for that level of responsibility, so he proposed a deal. I need to stay married for a year and a half, and he will give me the money. He asked me to marry you, and I reluctantly said yes. He showed me your picture. You looked pretty decent, which definitely made me feel better as I wouldn't be stuck with an Ugly Betty."
Grace's heart was stuck in her throat when she heard his words.
'I was a bloody deal. A pawn in his game which he was planning to checkmate in the end.' She thought.
"So you've had no feelings for me all this time?" However, she couldn't resist asking him, hoping that some part of their relationship was true.
"Nope. Nothing. And, well, come on, honey! How could you possibly believe that I would ever love you? You are a fucking orphan. So who knows what type of blood is flowing through your veins? I am Jefferson Smith. Soon to be CEO of Smith Hotels. And you, are you—just plain ol' Grace Albama. You'd never be able to fit into my life. But I have to admit that it was a good attempt on your side. But you and I just do not match." He chuckled. Her heart ached even more as a result of this.
"Orphan? WOW. I don't even know who you are anymore, Jefferson Smith. Because the guy I knew made sure to let me know that I deserved to have a family like any other, and you are my family. But maybe I never did know since it was a façade, right?" Her voice was caustic, but there was a tinge of melancholy in it.
"Look, even though I know this might come as a shocker to you, just get over it. Okay? So, are you going to sign the papers now or not? You are seriously wasting my time," he asked, looking bored.
Grace couldn't take it any longer. The tears dropped from her eyes, and with shaky hands, she signed the divorce papers. Jefferson had already signed under his name. She handed over the documents to him, and he looked relieved. It was like some burden was lifted from his shoulder.
"Great! By the way, are you sure you don't want something or need anything from me? I am rather surprised you even refused alimony, which is your legal entitlement." Jefferson asked her. He was fully aware of the financial hit she was about to take on her account.
Grace was not sure if it was out of worry or out of pity, or worst he was making a joke out of her. It didn't matter in the end. It didn't matter because their marriage was done.
"No. You should not waste your precious money on the likes of me. As you said, I am an orphan, so struggle has been pre-written in my life since the day I was abandoned and left for strangers to take care of me. And as you implied about my blood, since it is too bad and it is not as pure as you, or I would have been sleeping on money. But since I am a lone wolf, I don't deserve to have the luxury in life."
"Don't be sour about it. Well, you are an orphan, so you understand the need to do whatever it takes to survive. It is all about survival instincts, right?"
"You know nothing about survival. And I pray that you never do. You won't be able to live a single day of that life."
"Look, I am asking you again? You sure don't want anything from me. Take something as compensation for what you did. After all, it's because of you that I'm getting my funding."
"I never had a right on you from the start, so I don't have one now. Consider this as my gift to you. Parting gift. You may not have feelings for me, but I did love you. I hate to admit it, but I still do. Have a great life ahead." Grace said this with a sorrowful smile and walked away, leaving Jefferson alone.
She never once envisioned herself standing in this position. Not with Jefferson Smith. But she should have seen it coming. She should have bloody expected it because he was too good to be true. The past few weeks were turning into a disaster, yet she had tightly held onto the string of hope. Clung onto it. Unfortunately, it was already been broken since the beginning.